This spring, we enrolled both of the older girls in Little League. Tee ball for Eleanor, softball for Zoey. I was rather wary of signing them up for something that would take place at the time I was due to give birth. There were definitely some games where I was having a lot of contractions after walking (waddling) across multiple baseball fields to get to our assigned one, but somehow we made it all work.
Eleanor got to be on the same team as her best friend from kindergarten, that friend’s little sisters and several other classmates. It was hilarious to watch them, and they seemed to have fun. Mostly, I was glad for the extra socialization with peers that Ellie got from the experience. I think she was mostly glad for the snacks.
Zoey was nervous about moving up to softball. Once we learned that several of her classmates would be on her team and that one friend’s dad would be the head coach, she got much more excited about it. After the first couple of games, however, she seemed to be feeling a bit discouraged at her inability to hit the ball. Then my dad came to be with us for Dinah’s birth. Zach’s mom bought the girls a tee and set of wiffle balls to practice with in the backyard, and she and my dad were outside practicing with them the day before Dinah was born. Out of the blue, Zoey asked, “Can I try hitting the other way? Left-handed?” I replied, “Of course” and all of a sudden, there she was, consistently hitting the ball off the tee. I nudged my mother-in-law (who coached girls Little League when her kids were young and used to play it herself). Her eyebrows went up as she watched Zoey and she said, “That looks like a much more natural swing!” As it turns out, Zoey didn’t lose all her left-handedness when we did her surgery. She does most things now with her right, like eating, writing and throwing the ball, but she is most definitely a left-handed hitter.
When she tried hitting left-handed at her next game and finally connected with the ball, Zoey was so proud. It was a very proud moment for us, too, as we pointed out to her that she had listened to her own body and figured out what she needed to do all on her own.