Last year I had a student, Baseball Boy, who one day, in the middle of class and out of the blue asked me, "Mrs. Bluebird, do you like paintball?"
And oddly enough, one of my Chosens is an obsessive paintball player so I do know quite a lot about the sport - I even have my own mask and I've played a tiny bit. So my answer was, "Well, yeah, I do."
And that was it. I was suddenly the Best Teacher in The World, and then when Baseball Boy discovered that I am also a huge Chicago Cubs fan, I became "Aunt Bluebird". In fact, he told all the other kids that I was really his aunt (and they believed him). Over the course of the school year, I got to know Baseball Boy's parents and entire family pretty well. I got invited to his little brother's birthday party at the paintball field, I ended up watching three of the kids while mom and dad took the other one on a "date" one evening, and I spent a lot of my summer watching Baseball Boy play ball. So, I guess I really did become Aunt Bluebird in some respects.
Baseball Boy's parents, every year, allow each of their four kids to have an adventure with just mom and dad. They're really good about making sure each of their four kids gets individual attention and time, and they're lucky that they have both sets of grandparents close by to watch the other kids when they do this. Baseball Boy wanted to see the Chicago Cubs play ball, and they ended up buying a family four-pack of tickets (which was quite a deal) and told him he could invite a friend to go with them to Atlanta where the Cubs were playing the Braves
I was the friend he invited.
So bright and early one Sunday morning the four of us left for the five hour drive to Atlanta, of which Baseball Boy did not stop talking except for one half hour nap. We checked into our hotel, got to the stadium and had the best time. It was so much fun seeing Baseball Boy witness his first Major League Baseball Game (and the Cubs won which was even better). We stayed overnight, ate at a really cool diner on the way home, stopped at Cabella's, and got home Monday afternoon. It was a great road trip and the four of us had the most wonderful time.
Now, I asked Baseball Boy about what he was going to tell his friends. I mean, really? You take your old teacher on a road trip to see the Cubs? And his response was priceless. He shrugged. "I really don't care what they think."
Bless this kid. As I told his Mom, it's really nice to have someone else to talk baseball with (Mr. Bluebird is not a fan). My dad was a huge Cubs fan and I grew up going to California Angels games when we lived out there. So, I've missed that since Daddy passed away. Honestly, baseball is more fun when you can share it with someone.
And when you get to share a kid's first Major League Baseball game? Well, that's a memory that's priceless.