Recognizing “Remember the Time” Moments
Remember the Time
Keeping up with the Little Fella is impossible. Not just because I’m an old geezer and he’s a young whippersnapper. I’ve tried to set aside days where I intentionally do everything he wants to do. Days when I don’t say “in a minute” or “after I finish my coffee” or “not right now.” But I can’t keep up.
It’s not that the Little Fella is not interesting; no, quite the opposite is true. He’s just always a few steps ahead of me…always. Time with the Little Fella goes down something like this (with only slight use of hyperbole):
- “Hey, dad, want to hit me some fly balls?”
- (Immediately upon agreement to hit said fly balls) “Hey, and then after that, we play Country J.”
- (After a few fly balls and a random comment on my part about how pretty the fall leaves are) “Hey, I know, we could rake up a pile of leaves and jump in them later.”
- “Hey, Dad, hit me some that I have to dive for.”
- “Hey, you wanna have a neighborhood kickball game later?”
- (After finishing fly ball practice) “Hey, I know. We could base jump from the clubhouse.” (Okay, he didn’t make this request…but only because he didn’t think of it…yet.)
After this, I am usually spent. Not from hitting fly balls (because that is all we’ve actually done up to this point) but from his non-stop suggestions for future adventures. Most of the time, I feel like a failure as a dad for not being more involved in said adventures.
But then there are the times I know the uniqueness of our time together will lead to a “Hey, Dad, remember the time…” moment. Like this past Saturday…
Remember the time we built a baseball field?
My neighbor has graciously donated part of his yard to the neighborhood boys’ dream of building their own baseball field, Sandlot style. My neighbor built a mound and helped them set the dimensions of their field. On Friday afternoon the Little Fella asked me if I would mow around the bases so that they could more easily spread the dirt. I told him I could do him one better than that and weedeat the grass down to the dirt. This was good news to the neighborhood kids. Saturday would be a good day for field construction.
Saturday arrived and, with it, bountiful sunshine. It was a build-a-baseball-field kind of day. I trimmed around each base as best I could in the shape of a real base area. Before going back home to watch some football on TV, I figured I’d help all the little fellas out and move a load or two of dirt to their newly outlined bases.
Three hours and the addition of Older Brother to the work crew later, we had filled in around all the bases, cut out the home plate area in the shape of a home plate, and raked and tamped each spot. It looks like a real (slightly miniature) baseball field. Though the Little Fella had plenty of other ideas during field construction, the other little fellas kept him moving toward completion.
Later—as I was telling the Little Fella to put up the paracord material that he had gotten out to make bracelets later—it occurred to me later that this day had become a future “Hey, Dad, remember the time…” type of day. The type of day upon which legacies are built from the stories we tell…and re-tell. The soreness will eventually diminish, but the “remember the time” story built on that day should only grow stronger in the years to come.
There has been some practice on the new field but no “real” games yet. The official opening ceremonies are still on tap for an as-yet-unassigned future date. My neighbor has been tapped to throw out the ceremonial first pitch because, according to the Little Fella, “after all, he gave us the land to build the field.”
Talks are also already underway for a fence and various other amenities for the new park. That comes as no surprise since the Little Fella and his friends are involved. That’s okay. That just means that more potential “Hey, Dad, remember the time…” moments are also in the works.
After that, the field has largely remained unused. The weeds have crept over the base areas, and just today I saw the fence in a pile ready to haul to the dump. The neighborhood kids pursued new adventures like learning street hockey and building a cardboard “blind” in the woods behind our house. But we’ll always remember the time we built a baseball field.
Hey, I have an idea: How would your kids finish the phrase, “Hey, Dad (or Mom), remember the time…” Why don’t you ask them?
And, hey, after that, you could come back here and share the answers you get in the Comments section. I would appreciate your input.
About Al Ainsworth
Al Ainsworth is a values storyteller. He works with individuals, businesses, churches, and other organizations to pass along their values through the stories they tell…and re-tell. Al is the author of Lines in the Gravel (and 52 Other Re-Told Childhood Tales), Stories from the Roller Coaster (of a Faith Life), and Coach Dave: Season One. Subscribe to his email list for more values storying.