Yesterday seemed like one long baseball game. And it was awesome!!! My nephew scored his first home run of the season (the County tournament is the perfect time for that), played catcher for five innings in the brutal 95 degree weather, and still had energy to talk, after eating, for the entire hour car ride home. And you know what, that is one of the best things right there. Seeing him learn how to dig deep and play through some difficult conditions and to be able to share in that experience with him. Oh, and they won that second game. Lost the first one, but won the second. So now we are on to County Tournament day two. They have a legitimate shot to go to State. And you know what, I have a feeling they will, even if it is as the fifth seed.
For the first game yesterday, I brought my oldest nephew and his girlfriend and the baby with me. It was pretty fun having them at the game to cheer Connor on. With a 9am game time, we had to leave around 8. We all managed to get there right as it was starting. Canaan, the oldest, played baseball too, so I've been a baseball aunt for about 10 years now. And, if I'm being honest, I love it. I love to watch them play. I don't miss a game if I can help it. I got to see their mom's parents, at the early game also, which was really fun. And everybody got to love on the baby. After the 14-4 loss, everyone else headed home. I headed back to Portland from Woodburn to get my brother, and then we came back for the 2:00 pm game. Jason (my brother) and I both used to play baseball and softball and I remember those tournament weekends. Could be brutal, but oh so fun! It's what you live for as a ball player.
Connor decided on Subway for dinner on our way back from the game, so we wandered around the Woodburn Outlets until we found it. Pretty hilarious to watch my brother locate it on his phone via GPS. I finally got home sometime after 7. I was a hot, sweaty, sticky sunscreen mess and all I really wanted was a cool shower to clean all the grime off. And that's exactly what I did. I don't know if I've ever sweat so much. The great thing about staying hydrated in the heat and sweating it out is your skin looks awesome! Soft, glowing and tan. And, none of the kids passed out with any issues from the heat at the game, so that was another best thing. They played their little hearts out. It's so fun to be a part of and to watch.
I don't have any kids of my own, and most likely won't, unless I adopt or become a step-mom. My nephews are two of my greatest joys in life and I could not love them anymore unless they were my own. I am lucky I get to be part of their lives on a daily basis, lucky that I have such a good relationship with their dad (my brother) and their mom. Maybe not lucky. Maybe it's that I cultivate and invest in those relationships, and take the time to make myself available to them, because I realize they ARE one of the VERY best things. I remember when Connor (my youngest nephew) came home from the hospital, and I held him for the first time. I had never held a human being so small. I put him on my shoulder and my heart flip-flopped and I was lost with love for him. And that might be the ultimate best thing.