Tonight, I saw myself too clearly in my nephew’s face.
I remember the first time I heard Isaac’s heartbead. I cried. I remember when Denette brought Isaac home from the hospital. I looked into his face and I knew that there was a connection between the two of us. Something special.
I’ve watched him grow up, and there are times when his 11 year old antics are too much for me. He’s 100% boy. He loves sports, bodily functions, skateboards. He is going through that awkward I-love-my-family-but-I-want-to-be-with-my-friends age. But we still go to breakfast once in a while on a Saturday, and he likes to ride home with me from his baseball games.
Tonight he had a great game. He hit one ball to the fence. It hit the fence and bounced over, a ground rule double. He hit another shot in the gap between right and center field. He drove in 4 of the team’s 5 runs. What haunted him on our ride home was his last at bat. The team was down by one. There were to guys on base. There were two outs, and it was the final inning. (I’m not making any of this up…) He hit the ball solidly and ran hard to first. But he was out. His team lost by one. He felt like he lost the game.
I could see in his eyes what was going through his head. I saw me in his eyes. He had trouble falling asleep.
I’m hard on myself. I don’t like making mistakes. I don’t like letting people down. I hold myself more responsible than I hold anyone else. I hold myself to a much higher standard than I’d ever consider holding you. That is my nephew. He has straight A’s. Sixth grade is traditionally one of the most difficult academic years–it is the year you leave the bosom of elementary school for the big, bad world of changing classes and the merging of three schools into one. But he has straight A’s. And that’s not good enough. Because one of the A’s is a low A.
I’m going through that myself right now at work. I like what I’m doing, but I regret leaving something that I loved. I didn’t love the drama of the company, but I loved the job. I loved working with my doctors. I loved planning the meetings.
So tonight, as I was reminding my nephew of how well he had done, I guess I was talking to myself as well…