When Joe asked me to marry him after only knowing him for less than three months, I had a long list of things in which I had to ask myself, “Can I really live with that for the rest of my life?”

Very close to the top of that list was the fact that at that time the only pair of athletic shoes he owned was a pair of solid black leather Reeboks.   I had never seen a man under the age of 75 wear that style of shoes.  What made me a little nervous about this was that he actually liked wearing them, and it didn’t seem to bother him.  He had no clue that those shoes were not in style and that in fact had never been in style for someone his age.

I had to ask myself, “Could I really spend the next 70 years of my life with someone who doesn’t care a lick about what he is wearing?”

Who knew that his lack of concern about materialistic things in this world would become one of the things I love most about being married to him.  Although I must confess I did finally convince him that he should wear more age appropriate shoes.

Another thing that I had to consider before I said ‘yes,’ was the fact that Joe’s favorite sport is baseball.  Anyone who knows me very well, would probably classify me as an athletic girl who loves playing and watching sports.  True.

Except for one sport.  Baseball.

From the time I was a small child, I did not like the game.  Because I grew up in a small town where teams  were often desperate for players, coaches begged me to play softball up until my Senior year of high school.  Sometimes I would cave and play, but inside I dreaded every moment of every game.

If I said ‘yes’ to Joe, then my future children would likely be influenced to love a game I detested.   Believe it or not, that was a serious struggle in my 23 year old mind.

Naïve.  That is the best word I can think of to describe my thought process when I was 23.

In the past eleven years of marriage, I have been to several MLB games and actually felt a tinge of excitement about being there.  At age 23 I would have never dreamed that I would say this, but I have actually watched an entire baseball game on TV.

What changed?  It all changed the moment I saw my son pick up a baseball bat as a toddler and take his first swing.  The excitement.  The pride.  I found myself digging through boxes to find my old softball glove so I could play with him.  {Joe was a bit jealous}

Because of life circumstances, Caleb has not been able to play organized baseball until this year.    It was priceless to see his excitement as he opened up his birthday presents…many of which were to get him started on his first season of baseball…a helmet, a new glove, a new bat…

After six years of playing catch in the yard and hitting pitches thrown by momma and daddy, he finally had the chance to be a part of a team.

Who knew this once ‘baseball’ hater, would find butterflies in her stomach the entire morning of his first game?  Who knew how proud it would make me that he batted 1000 in his very first baseball game?  Who knew I even knew what that statistic meant ?

However, the most memorable moment of the day of his first game came before we even made it to the ball field.  We were all loaded up in the car to leave.  Realizing how cold it was, I decided to run back in to grab a blanket for me and Brooklynn.

I made a dash to the bedroom and there it was.  The perfect quilt for my son’s very first baseball game.  A quilt stitched with love by my beloved grandmother,  my Ma-Ma.

Ma-Ma has been gone for many years now.  But there are many moments where I unexpectedly stop in my tracks and tears well up in my eyes.  This was one of those moments.

I grabbed the quilt and sat hugging it on my bed.  And in that moment I had a flashback to my own childhood.  Summers at Ma-Ma’s house.  I absolutely loved everything about Ma-Ma’s house in the summer.

I loved the long walks to town to get groceries, because Ma-Ma never drove.

I loved that she let me lay on my bed all day reading my books and never expected me to help with the cooking or cleaning up.

I loved that summer entertainment at her house was sitting on the backporch glider shelling peas and using a string and bacon to catch crawdads in the backyard.

But, there was one thing that I did not like about Ma-Ma’s house in the summer.

Baseball.  Ma-Ma was likely one of the biggest Texas Ranger’s fans in the history of their team.  If there was a game on the radio or TV, I knew better than to ask to go on a walk to town or ask her to sit out on the back porch with me.

Most  summer evenings at Ma-Ma’s were spent sitting with her in her living room as she listened to the Ranger’s game on the radio while she watched them play on TV.

Because of my dislike for baseball, I would usually make my way out to the back porch to finish a book or write in my journal.

Last weekend as I sat there on my bed, clutching my treasured quilt, I couldn’t help but think about how excited Ma-Ma would be to talk to Caleb about his love for baseball.  How she would wait by her phone for us to call her and have him tell her about every detail of the game.

After a couple of minutes, I wiped my tears and made my way back to the car where a very excited dad and son seemed a little puzzled by my red swollen eyes.

I took a deep breath and said with a rather shaky voice.

“Caleb, I think one of your biggest fans is cheering you on from heaven today.”

Though I don’t’ think my theology backs up that statement 100%, in that moment it was what I was feeling.   I could envision Ma-Ma as a part of Caleb’s great cloud of witnesses (Hebrews 12:1) cheering him on in the game of life.

In that moment I felt a deep sense of responsibility.

An intense burden to pass on the heritage that was passed down to me.

A love of God.  And a love of baseball.

Maybe Caleb will be more receptive to the latter.  If my Ma-Ma had been a journal keeper, I think during those weeks in the summer when I stayed with her she might have written in her prayer journal something like this…

“Please God.  You are gonna have to send my granddaughter Holly a husband that will help her see the true order of things.  God first.  Family second.  Church third.  And baseball fourth.”

One of my last vivid memories of Ma-Ma before she starting getting sick in the last year of her life occurred the summer before I married Joe.

That summer afternoon it was not just me and Ma-Ma and Nolan Ryan on TV, as it used to be when I was a child.  This time sitting by my side was my sweet, baseball loving fiancé  Joe.  I sat there and listened to a long conversation that revolved around a sport I detested.

Not long after that day, my Ma-Ma got sick.  She had to move out of that precious house where I had spent weeks every summer since I was born.

Sometimes I wonder if in God’s infinite love for Ma-Ma, He allowed her to live just long enough to meet the God-fearing, baseball loving man that she had prayed into my life.

I not only ‘learned to live with’ my husband’s love of baseball, if you could see me through the computer screen you would see that today I am even wearing a baseball shirt.  For the love of baseball….who would have thought.

Daddy and son en route to the first game...our closest friends will appreciate the fact that Joe has his loveseat chair in tow.

Brooklynn warming up under Ma-Ma's quilt. Unfortunately she cares about baseball about as much as I did as a child. Her discovery of the snack bar made it much more tolerable for her. A funnel cake can improve anything!

Evidence. I am wearing a baseball shirt. To my own hater credit, I had no idea today really was the opening day of baseball. Today people at Target thought I was a die hard fan.

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