As a parent, I am always searching for signs that my kids will be ‘all right’ or that, mercifully, I am doing a good job as a parent. With time, I more deeply appreciate how little control I have over events and circumstances that will affect my kids’ lives. The COVID-19 pandemic drives that point home. Beyond basic safety, all that I can truly influence is the outlook my sons have to view the world and the emotional intelligence they carry forward into it. So I love to see, admittedly I search for, signs of resilience and optimism that I believe will serve them well in the future. This brings me to a rainy day for baseball ….
One of Liam’s first obsessions was baseball. His whole mind wrapped around the subject. He always, and I mean always, wanted to be playing or watching baseball. When Liam started to recite RBI statistics to me at the age of 5, I realized how much else he was learning through the sport. When spring rolled around, we sprang for Mets tickets. The idea alone unleashed the combined excitement of Christmas, Birthdays and a million ice cream cones. We bought matching Mets jerseys for the family and prepared for the big day.
The Saturday of the big game arrived and to our dismay, a downpour was expected at 1pm, the same time the game was to start. We agreed that we would still make the 1-hour drive to Citi Field and hope that the rain was short-lived.
We turned on the car radio to hear the commentators and check the local weather forecast. We took turns pretending to be Ron Darling, always narrating a game that the Mets won (hey, we can hope). It was 12:55 and the rain was expected to start in five minutes — all reports confirmed it. The clouds confirmed it. But like any good Mets fan, we were hoping to defy odds.
The car clock turned to 1 p.m, we were stuck in traffic on the GW Bridge and the first pitch was thrown out. I was already concerned that we were running late — but Liam seemed unphased, his little ears strained to understand every word the announcer said as he stared out at the NYC skyline.
The car clock turned to 1:01pm and Liam’s young voice, which is already so much deeper now, rang out from the backseat.
“Guys guys! It’s 1:01 p.m! And the rain hasn’t started yet!” “That means we have already been lucky for one minute! Maybe we’ll be lucky for another minute!” he exclaimed.
It took us 20 more minutes to navigate to Citi Field and at the strike of each minute we would hear, “We’ve been lucky for another minute!”
“Maybe we’ll be lucky for another minute and another minute and another minute and maybe we’ll be lucky all day and it won’t even rain at all!”
His beautiful optimism made my heart sing.
Gretchen Rubin articulates how l felt about this in her 2-minute Little Happier clip ‘I’m Lucky to Have a Mother who Feels Lucky’ (found here). She described a toast her Mom gave where she described herself as lucky, not just happy, but lucky.
Gretchen Rubin says:
““What struck me is how lucky I was to have a mother who felt lucky … For a child—a parent’s perspective on the world matters so much. They help make our weather. I feel lucky to have a mother who considers herself lucky. I feel like I’m part of why she feels lucky. And that is a beautiful atmosphere for a child to live in, at whatever age you are.””
— Gretchen Rubin
I feel lucky to have a son who feels lucky. He too shapes my weather. In turn, I see how my feelings of luck and gratitude shape him, especially, but not only in, a time of a global pandemic.
You might ask, as Gretchen does, ‘What is luck anyway’? Do we create our own luck? In some cases, yes. But in my case—in my family’s case—I believe we won the lottery on life. What we do with that is up to us. As Ann Mehl puts it so well in her book, Painting with Scissors, we were born on third base and can’t take the credit for hitting a triple. We’re just damn lucky.
We emerged from the GW Bridge and droplets appeared on our windshield, but just momentarily and not enough to call off the game. It was a cold, blustery afternoon. We were chilled to our bones sitting in our damp seats. But to Liam, and now the rest of the family, we were lucky.
May you feel lucky today.