The baseball diamond is my kids’ happy place.
Each year, when spring turns to summer and the warm weather comes to stay, we find ourselves at the town field a few times a week. Sometimes it’s just our family, but other times a handful of kids from around our small town begin to trickle in, armed with bags of sunflower seeds and baseball bats to join in the fun.
Listening to the laughter and joyful shouts that fill our sacred small-town air has become one of my very favorite summer pastimes.
Watching the kids play, I’m hit with nostalgia so strong it takes my breath away. This is their happy place, but it’s mine too—because it’s one of the places I get to see them so fully immersed in everything childhood should be.
The world feels a little bit crazy right now, but this. This is sweet, summertime simplicity in its purest form.
It’s easy. It’s fun. It’s uncomplicated.
It’s dirty and sticky and magical.
It’s the exact feeling I want my kids to tuck into their hearts and memories to look back on one day when someone asks them what it was like when they were growing up.
So give us more of this. Give us a sandlot summer we can all share.
I want to show up at the ballfield with a cooler of Gatorade and turkey sandwich fixings to keep the kids fueled for hours.
I want to slather sunscreen on everyone’s faces, necks, and ears after they slide into home.
I want to pass Otter Pops out to everyone from the giant box in our freezer. The melty juice mixed with the infield sand will leave brown streaks all down their arms and chins and it will be glorious.
Give us days that turn into nights at the ballfield.
And when they’re not playing baseball, I hope the same simplicity seeps into other parts of my kids’ days.
I hope they race their bikes up and down the driveway, wind against their faces and hearts racing as they imagine this is what it must feel like to fly.
I hope they play outside for hours, with only the occasional check-in to grab a glass of water (and track dirt across the kitchen floor).
I hope they jump on the trampoline and run through the sprinkler.
I hope we end evenings together roasting hot dogs and marshmallows over a fire.
I hope they get to experience the goodness of mostly unstructured days and hours filled with everything and nothing all at the same time.
Swimming at the lake.
Watching the actual classic, “The Sandlot” in a living room fort on rainy days.
Ice cream cones on Main Street.
Worn-out bodies but the most content sleepy smiles when I tuck them into bed at night.
This year, the desire to take things back to the basics is burning in my heart stronger than ever.
The fall will bring cooler weather, the start of school, and a return to reality. But for now—in this world that wants them to grow up too dang fast—give us a sandlot summer my kids will remember for the rest of their lives.