“May the road rise up to meet you,
May the wind be always at your back,
May the sun shine warm upon your face,
And the rains fall soft upon your fields,
And until we meet again,
May God hold you in the palm of His hand.” – Irish Blessing
(This edition of Shorthoptimism isn’t going to be so short today. I apologize in advance.)
One of the greatest things about doing this blog is what it has taught me to do; reflect, consider others, and pass on positivity and optimism. A lot of what I have written has also served as a personal blueprint for the type of person I aspire to be. On a couple occasions, Noah and I have touched on subjects like saying I love you and telling people how you feel about them. What I have learned this week is how important that really is.
One of my ballplayers lost his mother yesterday. This young man has been in our program for 5 years, and is someone that I have been proud to know and coach. When talking to him last night, I could not have been more impressed with his mindset. I’ve heard so many stories about young people losing a parent or a loved one at a young age and having that negatively define them through their formative years. After our discussion last night, I don’t have that fear for this kid. He talked about his mom and what a great job she did raising him and his siblings. He plans to honor her memory by becoming the person that she would have wanted him to be. Pretty amazing stuff for a high school sophomore.
Another great thing about this blog is the opportunity I get to put feelings into words especially as it relates to those close to me. Admittedly, I am not excellent with the spoken word, specifically as it pertains to how I convey emotions. I’m much better with the written word. In that vein, and in the interest of practicing what I preach, here goes:
To my wife, Amber: I’m not sure I’ve ever met anyone who gets me like you do. You know my faults and my strengths more than anyone else. You have always been there to listen, motivate, encourage, and understand me. You’re an amazing mom. You have given me an incredible son and I am eternally grateful to you for that. I could write so much more, but, thank you for being such an awesome person. I love you to pieces.
To my son, Judson: I know you can’t read, but whatever. Maybe Mommy will read this to you. Your entrance into our lives has changed me forever, and for the better. You’re incredibly smart and have such a wonderful little personality. Until I saw you for the first time, I didn’t think it was possible to love someone so much. I can’t wait to see what kind of person you become. I don’t care what you end up doing for a living, I just care that you live a life that is full of happiness and compassion for others. I love you to the moon and back, even when I yell at you for throwing all the couch cushions off the couch. Don’t ever forget that.
To Carlita, Marty, Rene’e, Jordan and Corey: One of the coolest things about our family is how we communicate with each other; generally through movie quotes and jokes. On more than one occasion I have had someone say they feel kind of left out around us because they don’t get all the inside jokes. I know so many families that aren’t close like ours and never or rarely speak to each other. That’s never been the case with us. Siblings, I love you guys, even though we never actually say that to each other. Same to you, Mom and Dad. I am who I am because of where I come from. Thank you.
To The Smith’s, Sewell’s and Hurst’s: The amazing thing about you guys is how you accepted me into your clans without ever making me feel like an outsider. Individually and separately, you guys have done so much for our little family, and I want you to know how much it is appreciated. You always hear about people dreading hanging out with their in-laws, but that has never been the case with me. (I’m not just trying to get brownie points, either, Susan. ;)) Thank you for being so welcoming and always being there when we’ve needed you, which has been a lot. I love you guys, and I am so glad Judson has so many people to count on in his life.
To my oldest friends: Tommy, Neil, Joe, Kenny, Rod, Jim, John – I’ve known most of you since I was 10 years old or younger. The beautiful thing about our friendship is that we could not see each other for a year, and when we’re together it’s like we never skipped a beat. I know for a fact that I could call any of you in the middle of the night needing help and you’d be there for me without asking a question. Please know that works both ways. I know we don’t hang out as much as we’d like anymore. We all have families and other obligations that make it difficult for us to hang like we used to. Just know that I love all of you and I absolutely cherish the memories we’ve made over the years. You mean the world to me.
To Mr. Welte: Thank you for this opportunity to try to spread positivity. You have been the driving force behind this mission of ours, and I can’t thank you enough for that. Thank you for offering encouragement when I needed it and providing a swift kick to the pants when that was also warranted. I look up to you more than you probably know, and I am in awe of your outlook and your ability to put that into words. I love you, brother!
To all of the great people I have met through coaching and baseball: This includes coaches, mentors, teammates and players I’ve coached. You have all left an indelible mark on me and have each taught me lessons about what it takes to be a good coach and human being. Thank you.
Kind of sounds like a farewell message, doesn’t it? Yeesh. I meant every word. If I have left anyone out, I am truly sorry. I know I’ll finish this up and remember people and then sit here the rest of the day and sulk over it. I could have written so much more about each person or group of people I mentioned, but I didn’t think writing a novel in this space was a great idea. When this is all said and done, it’ll be roughly 1,200 words. You don’t need to do that. You can be way more concise than I chose to be. Just do it. Just say it. It sounds so cliché, but it could not possibly be truer: you never know when you will no longer have the chance to tell someone what they mean to you. Take the time to do it. No one wants to harbor that regret.
Have an awesome Wednesday,