The Giants Expedition

When I was a little girl, I wanted to be a baseball umpire. Never mind that I had never played baseball before and I didn’t know why my father glued himself to the TV whenever a game was on but I thought it would be awesome to have so much power to make people happy or angry.

We never had cable. There were no networks geared just for kids, no DVR’s, VCR tape rental was just starting to get popular. Most kids were able to watch the two hours of cartoons everyday after school because their parents weren’t cheap Filipinos. I didn’t mind. We still had Saturday morning cartoons.

We’re talking real vintage stuff here, kids. Smurfs were never on the big screen. I thought the “older kid” shows were so cool back when I was Team Zack (not Team Slater) and Fergie from the Black Eyed Peas was just Stacy Ferguson.

That is, until baseball season. My little brother and I would scream in horror when our cartoons were preempted by that damn sport. Who wanted to watch a boring game anyway?

My dad did! Back then there wasn’t a TV in every room. (Now we only have a TV in our family room and a small 12″ TV upstairs for kids’ movies.) If you wanted TV time, too bad. Dad was watching the San Francisco Giants or the Oakland A’s. I started watching out of boredom and it wasn’t until much later that I appreciated their… Ahem, uniforms.

One beautiful October afternoon, my brother and I sat down with our dad to watch the 1989 World Series– the Battle of the Bay— when lo and behold, Mother Nature had other plans. She sent a major earthquake measuring 7.1 on the Richter scale. As a child growing up near major fault lines in California, I remember experiencing them so often that I could guess how strong they were on the Richter scale with great accuracy. But this one? This one was greater than anything I had ever felt in my life. It was so strong that my husband said he felt it two states away!

It wasn’t until my first year of college that I went to a real professional sports game. I remember a long bus ride with a few friends to Candlestick Park. I was in awe of this amazing park and wondered how it would have felt sitting there when that earthquake hit, the earthquake that kept us out of school for at least two days. I loved taking in the smell of ballpark fare and beer not knowing that decades later my children would beg for $9 nachos at minor league games.

When Operation Care and Comfort offered tickets to soldiers in northern California, I jumped at the chance to take my kids to their first Giants game, totally understanding if tickets had run out or unavailable to us in our unique situation.

We got tickets to Opening Week, the final game against the Colorado Rockies.

Needless to say, we had an amazing time!

20130414-230043.jpg

20130414-230055.jpg

20130414-230104.jpg

20130414-230115.jpg

20130414-230128.jpgOn the bridge near our parking lot. I almost cried having to pay $35 for parking!

20130414-230249.jpgWe stopped at Travis AFB to pick up lunch and snacks but mostly to save money from having to buy food and drinks in the park. Now I splurge on special occasions but no such occasion exists when it comes to a cup of ten-dollar-lemonade! A is eating octopus from the sushi bar.

20130414-230634.jpg

20130414-230647.jpg

20130414-230656.jpg

20130414-230714.jpg

20130414-230731.jpg

20130414-230748.jpg

20130414-230801.jpg

The Entitlement Hypothesis

20120528-203122.jpg

I took the kids to a baseball game today and they tried to get autographs from the minor league players but A only got one. M didn’t get any. One of the security guards told everyone to try again after the game.

My kids were bummed but I told them not to worry. We’d try again after the game and if we don’t get any more today, that’s alright. We would be back for at least one or two more games before the end of the season.

Like any teacher or parent, I want my children to be prepared for disappointment because IT WILL HAPPEN. Not only do they need to feel it, they need to know how to cope with it.

Last week I subbed for a first grade class a couple of times. There were a couple of boys in the class who, I will later learn that they’re younger than everyone else in the class, did not know how to cope with any negative feelings. If they didn’t get chosen to be first to say an answer or if they lost a spelling game, they threw temper tantrums. Yes, actual tantrums as in crossing their arms and sitting under their desk or even throwing down their sweater and stomping!

Now one of the few drawbacks in being a sub is that I don’t have the chance to get to really know the children I sub for. I don’t know, for instance, what would have been the best way to handle the situation for each particular kid or if there was even anything I could have done to be proactive. I don’t know.

After the game, the kids and I sprinted to the edge of the seating area. I showed them how to hold out their brand new baseball and new pen in the shape of a bat, waving it around to get their attention but not being obnoxious about it. But we were standing next to a mom that was.

The Sacramento Rivercats lost 10-2 and some of the fans were saying that they don’t give out autographs when they lose. I understand that; who would? For us to even be out there to AT LEAST TRY for autographs was still pretty cool. Autographs aren’t required by management. But that mom didn’t get it.

She was full on yelling at the players when they walked by, “Hey! Come and sign some autographs! These kids come out here to support you! Show them some good sportsmanship!”

I wanted to put my hands up to separate my family from her and shout out, “These views do not reflect all moms out here!” but I didn’t. I didn’t say a word. Time and place, I told myself. Time and place.

When she finally left with her boys, a guy standing next to me said, “Geez, what’s her problem?”

I just shook my head.

20120528-203150.jpg

After she left, two players came out of the dugout (I don’t blame them for waiting) and signed EVERYONE’S souvenir. I noticed they did it wordlessly but I told the older two (the little one opted not to do the autograph thing) that they had to ASK for an autograph, say PLEASE, and say THANK YOU afterward.

M asked the first player, Wesley Timmons, “Can I have your autograph?” The baseball player laughed and said, “Do you want my name or yours?” M thought about it and then said, “Yours.” The player smiled and said, “Here you go.” M said, “Thank you!”

A asked the second player, Michael Taylor, “Can I have your autograph?” and the conversation went the same way. Actual conversation with the kids. Connecting through love of the game.

Which brings me to my next concern. Entitlement.

I was taught at a very young age by Filipino immigrant parents that if I wanted something, I had to get out and get it. No one was going to do it for me. No one was going to give me special treatment. Don’t expect that. Ever.

It’s a work ethic I expect my husband R and I to instill in our children. Work hard. Don’t expect anything from anyone except for yourself.

That mom went home thinking that her kids DESERVED to get autographs. What is that teaching her kids? Their kids did nothing to EARN autographs except buy a ticket to a baseball game but even that doesn’t ENTITLE you to an autograph.

My kids went home grateful that two baseball players stopped to sign their balls.

Much in the same way I carry the label “MILITARY SPOUSE”. I own it. It’s mine. But I (and thousands of other military spouses) don’t think that the world should fall at my feet because of it.

20120528-200224.jpg
The world should fall at my feet because of ME, regardless of my spouse. Mwahahahahahahaha!

Will I ask for a military discount? Of course! Doesn’t hurt to ask, right?

Do I EXPECT it? Of course not. How much more cordial would we all be if we just deleted entitlement from our egos? How much easier would it be to deal with disappointment if we treated each other with respect and relied on grace to get us through tough times?

At the very least, we’d probably get more autographs.

Happy Memorial Day!

20120528-144857.jpg

Thank you to our military, past and present. We continue to honor the fallen and we help surviving spouses and children remember their loved ones. THANK YOU! YOU WILL NOT BE FORGOTTEN!

This is dedicated in memory of my husband’s friend, Steven P. Daugherty.

#

We are spending our Memorial Day at the Sacramento Rivercats game. It is Military Appreciation Day at the park so the kids got free American flags. Just before the game, two dozen young men and women took the Oath of Enlistment.

20120528-145650.jpg

20120528-145659.jpg

20120528-145708.jpg

20120528-145716.jpg

20120528-145724.jpg

A trip to the ballpark is not complete without nachos! Also, we have fourth row seats next to third base and the sun is shining today.

20120528-145902.jpg

20120528-145916.jpg

My shirt says, “U.S. NAVY SAILORS ROCK”!

20120528-173222.jpg

Mother’s Day Reloaded

Mother’s Day 2010 was quite memorable but not for the reason you think. Yes, R was in a car accident the month before and we were still living out of suitcases at the Navy Lodge next to National Naval Medical Center in Bethesda but it was also the day I took L to her first Nationals baseball game.

Mother’s Day 2010 was the day after the dinner at the Dutch Embassy.

My, that sounds so fancy schmancy, doesn’t it? “Yes, dahling, I’d love to go but I’ve got to get ready for dinner at the Dutch Embassy.”

It was pretty awesome.

It turns out that the wonderful people at the hospital frequently invite the family of Wounded Warriors to various events around the city. That night happened to be dinner at the embassy.

I wasn’t sure how I’d be able to manage it with three young kids. As a Navy wife, a tiny part of me has been embarassed to be such a stereotype as in look at that young Navy wife with all those kids. Silly, I know. It’s a tiny part.

20120522-214045.jpg

20120522-214039.jpg

20120522-214050.jpg

Three young kids and only me at a semi-formal event with probably important people and expensive glasses and dishes. L was on the verge of being potty trained before the accident and you can bet your little patootie that she digressed when after the accident. How could I deal with a smelly diaper at a government building? Not only that, my in-laws and brother-in-law left a few days earlier and I was getting used to having all three kids with me all the time at the hospital every moment of the day. My weight dropped so low that there was a digit in the tens place I hadn’t seen since high school. I almost fainted a couple of times in the hospital. Because of all of these things, I almost declined.

I am so glad I didn’t.

Turned out that while we were the largest family there (yay, I won), they were not the only kids. There was a toddler safely harnessed in a kid backpack thing. There was another boy who was about a year older than M.

The kids and I greeted and thanked our hosts and other official officials then I did what any other parent would do.

I herded my lot to the patio and let them run around. They were soon joined by the other boy. His mom told me later that her son said, “I want to go outside and play with all the kids.”

20120522-214313.jpg

20120522-214319.jpg

20120522-214325.jpg

20120522-214337.jpg

Yep, I am a walking preschool.

It turns out that the boy’s father was also a Wounded Warrior. His father’s vehicle hit an IED and he lost both of his legs. Our kids talked about their dads.

Our kids talked about their dads who were injured in the war.

I had no idea how powerful that would be to M. There were other kids like him out here, forced to grow up before they had to, forced to accept the mortality of the most powerful man they know, watching their moms cry when they think no one is looking.

Mind you, I am a military spouse and I own it but it’s not my superpower. I don’t expect Oprah to lavish me with expensive gifts just because I’m a military spouse but it would very rude of me to refuse.

On the way back to base, the officer in charge had two extra tickets to the Nationals game the next day. Mother’s Day.

My hand shot up first.

In retrospect, I probably should not have left the older two with R in the hospital for two very important reasons: (1) He was under so much medication that he does not recall most of his time in Bethesda and (2) HE WAS IN THE HOSPITAL.

But I HAD to leave the older two with him. My son M did NOT want to leave R’s side. The older two were potty trained and really independent for their ages. Also, this is what they wanted to do with Daddy the entire time.

20120522-222843.jpg

So L and I hopped on the Metro and headed to the game.

20120522-222958.jpg

Only we didn’t have regular baseball tickets. We had tickets in the Presidential Lexus suite. I looked around nervously at all of the food and whispered to the waitress if I could at least put the tip and alcohol on my Visa debit card as I didn’t have any cash with me.

She smiled and said, “Oh, honey. Everything is taken care of in here.”

Whoa.

20120522-223249.jpg

20120522-223253.jpg

20120522-223257.jpg

Yes, that’s prime rib. Yes, that’s a dessert bar behind L. Yes, we sat four rows behind home plate. Home plate is a base, right?

Mother’s Days since then have been very low-key. The kids bring home art projects from school, homemade cards created the morning of in the next room. True, there is no prime rib, no presidential suite.

There’s always next year.