We took Jackson and Micah to their first major league baseball game on Tuesday night. It was 70 degree weather, a balmy sunset, a cool breeze, the wafting aroma of chili fries and nacho cheese, and fireworks. In short, it was a delicious slice of tasty Americana.
We dressed them in the XL free team T-shirts that were passed out. We pointed out the field. We showed them who the pitcher was and how the jumbo tron was a “movie” of what was going on in the game. We fed them chicken strips and fries. And then we spent the next hour answering the question, “is he out yet? Can we go home now?”
Apparently one bite of Americana was more than enough for my boys.
So we packed them up, we schlepped them over our shoulders and carried them back to the car, picking up “snack packs” and chocolate milk at Seven Eleven along the way. And I thought, “my babies are just too young for this kind of grown up moment, we’ll try again next season.”
And then, on the way home, we passed a gnarly car accident and Jackson proceeded to offer up a lyrical prayer that belied his age, his attention span, and his tiny frame. Floored, I whispered a silent, “Amen” and wondered briefly at his spiritual comfort level, but assumed he gets it from time spent with me and my main man (I know, I know, humility runs rampant in our household!)
Fast-forward one morning, one bad fall, and one gnarly head bump later. I am trying to comfort Jackson, pacify him with fruit roll ups, and get him out the door in time for preschool. We arrive late, take our place on the “sharing circle mat” and I raise my hand to share what happened so that Jackson’s teacher is prepared in case he starts running in circles, fainting or dropping his vowels.
I describe what happened; I show her the gnarly near head gash.
The pitch is good.
Jackson’s teacher takes one look at his head, places her hand next to the tender spot, and invites the entire class to surround my son, lay their precious 3 year old hands on him, and pray.
Smotheringly swarmed by little bodies, hands press into us both, and they pray our socks off.
It’s a hit.
Jackson takes this all in stride. He is not threatened by the almost claustrophobic closeness of the comfort being offered. Instead, from the look on his face, it’s familiar. It’s what you do when you are hurt and in need of help. In his world, you pray.