Dandelions In The Outfield

He pounds the leather mitt across his thigh as his head tilts upward watching an airplane plunge through the clouds.

Oblivious to all the screaming people in the stands and the players running by him in the field, he pulls the glove off his tiny fingers and tosses it into the clover.

Smiling, he stoops over and picks up a dandelion.

He lifts the bud of sunshine to his nose, and his grin spreads to his ears.

The ball whizzes by him. It lands a few feet past him. Fact is he doesn’t even see it.

His coach yells his name. We call out to him. He doesn’t hear us.

He is intent and content gathering as many dandelions as he can pack into the hollow of the mitt he’d strewn on the ground.

The coach gives up and focuses on the other t-ball players.

We watch him in sheer amazement.

Once in a while the noise of the airplanes flying overhead breaks his concentration and he stops long enough to watch the white streaks rip across a patch of blue sky. Occasionally he replaces his smile with a determined clench as he continues plucking the sunny beauties from the earth.

The inning ends, and he’s sitting in the grass still fingering the small yellow blooms. His coach yells to him, and finally goes out to get him.

In all his boyish splendor, he runs to me with flowers in his hand and a smile on his face. “These are for you, Mommy.” I pull him into my arms and hug him tightly.

He runs off for a snack. I sit in the stands with flowers in my hand and a smile on my face.

****I don’t recall whether they won or lost the game. I only remember the joy on the face of my child, joy that spilled from his heart to his face and into mine. I witnessed my child digging for something extraordinary in an ordinary moment, and then shared the joy of his finding it.

44 thoughts on “Dandelions In The Outfield

    • I hate to admit I was a bit embarrassed at first and then the sweetness of it overwhelmed me, more so in retrospect. I wish I’d treasured all those moments at the time…(you know the moments when you’re in a hurry and they dawdle because their focus is elsewhere?(

  1. It is not important who won or lost the game. You experienced (and so did your boy) and you remembered what is important.

    Such a LOVEly memory.

    (AWESOME: “I only remember the joy on the face of my child, joy that spilled from his heart to his face and into mine.”)

  2. Fantastic story Suzicate–thanks for sharing.

    The imagery of sports is powerful. My older son’s first t-ball game is a super memory. Well not anything he did. It was in a neighboring small town, the sun was bright, no clouds in the spring sky, and everything was so green.

    I don’t remember how he did, but the picture of us walking to the dugout is something I’ll always treasure.

  3. Suzi, I ADORED this post!

    OMG…what a super sweet memory. It totally made my heart swell.

    “In all his boyish splendor, he runs to me with flowers in his hand and a smile on his face. “These are for you, Mommy.” I pull him into my arms and hug him tightly.”

    How precious!

    Thank you for sharing, my friend!

    X

  4. I watched my grandson play in his Little League game many years ago. He too was in the outfield. He paid zero attention to the game, but gazed up at birds, and probably made some daisy chains while he was there. At one point he yawned, throwing both hands up over his head. Miraculously, the ball landed in his mitt. He was even more astounded than we were. He bragged about the catch afterwords, and I mentioned that he really should be watching the game rather than picking flowers and looking at birds. He replied “Grandma, I’m thinking about where the ball is going to go.” Uh huh.

    This was just beautiful. What a cherished memory!

    • They are so cute, aren’t they? I remember the first soccer game and all the kids were running the wrong way and delighting at scoring even though it was the wrong goal!

  5. I can never look at a field of dandelions without thinking of abundance rather than “Ack! Weeds!” Dandelions have been a staple resource for love and fun all my life…first for picking them myself and giving them to my mother…then for receiving gracious gifts of sunshine from my own children.

    Lovely memory, Suzi. Thanks for sharing.

      • It just occurred to me, as I was reading your response. “Dandelions in the Outfield” would make a wonderful title for a book – either a Jean Kerr type book (such as “Please Don’t Eat the Daisies”) regarding all the humor and love in your life – or a nature oriented book with pictures and your lovely writing and quotes (probably this would suit you better) – or a novel of some kind (along the lines of “Field of Dreams”)

  6. I used to get a kick out of watching those tiny boys pick dandelions in the outfield instead of fielding balls. I still have a shriveled up flower in a small box that my wee one gave me years ago. Maybe this is why I’ve never seen the dandelion as the enemy as so many people do. They’re bright and cheerful when they’re yellow; they help wishes come true when they’re white; and their green leaves are yummy in salad. What’s not to love?

  7. Lovely. Well told. Brings back such warm memories. When our daughter “played” soccer, her frustrated coach put her in her field position and told her to stay there. Which is exactly what she did, moving only in rotation to watch the progress of the game as she stood still in the center of the field. ” She’s got the best seat in the house,” my husband said.

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