Today you turned seven years old and just like that you seem years ahead of where I remember you last year. You see, you have always struggled with working your way out of your shell. Whether it be a lack of confidence or fear of not doing something perfectly, I have watched you struggle to find your footing and I am always sure to follow close behind. However, something happened this past year. Your dad and I had been discussing finding a new sport for you try since you had lost interest in gymnastics. Blake, you are our little artist and we do everything we can to fuel that passion, but we also know the value of athletics and learning to be on a team and how to win and lose. And it’s something we want to make sure you experience. I remember you came to us one evening back in February and you said, “I know what I want to play”. Dad and I eagerly sat up in bed as you said it without any hesitation and with the most confidence I had ever seen from you… “Baseball”. Just like that. We told you how excited we were for you and that we would look into it right away and we sent you off to bed.
Dad and I stayed up talking all about it. Mostly because we had no idea how to make it work. Baseball is one sport that Dad and I never experienced in our youth and you knew nothing about it. However, we refused to let you down or make you think we were worried about it so the next day I got on the phone to ask around about a league. Little did we know sign ups for Spring ball had already happened and the season was starting in just a few short weeks. With some help from a few moms in our neighborhood and a lot of emails I got in touch with the director of the league and asked if there were any openings for you to join a team. He found one and it was that same night that we announced to you that you would be playing on the Lake Monsters. The joy in your face was indescribable.
We worked our way through figuring out equipment. We returned pants a couple of times, I bought you a wood bat instead of aluminum on accident and we had to research online at what type of ball was used for your age group. After all that though we had you prepared for your first practice. We even made sure to take you to the field and practice hitting and teaching you where the bases were. The day of your first practice I was twisted into knots. I knew you were excited, but was also worried about your anxiety kicking in last minute. Not only was this something you had never done, but you were the only girl on an all-boys team. And you knew no one. I remember standing by the dugout and chatting with the other parents while we waited for the coaches to get set up. They called out to all the kids to meet at home plate. You didn’t move. I gave you a little nudge from behind, walked the first few steps with you and then with as much tough love as I could muster up I said, “You better get out there so you aren’t late” and with that you took off running.
From that moment on and for the entire season you amazed us at every turn. The friends you made on that team, your positive attitude about learning new things and getting better at each, your natural ability and the fact that you were out running most of those boys made us smile. You worked your way through an entire Spring season and now have the trophy sitting in your room to prove it. And all you can talk about is next season.
Blake, you are full of surprises and talent that I could have only dreamed of for you. You bless us everyday and we are beyond proud of the little woman you are becoming. Thank you for showing us what little surprises life can bring our way and what it looks like to achieve greatness. Because Blake, you have achieved greatness at every level by overcoming your own fears. Keep on growing and gaining that confidence because you were meant to do amazing things. Happy Birthday, my sweet and beautiful daughter. It’s going to be another wonderful year watching you.
With every piece of me and more,