Of the whole summer, this was the week I was most worried about, though for the wrong reasons.

Jaden was signed up for a baseball camp we won at the school auction last year; he saw the photo of the boys in crisp white uniforms and he wanted it. Bad. Never mind that it’s a bit out of our area and he wouldn’t know any of the kids. Never mind that he doesn’t really know how to play baseball. This camp was going to be his big moment.

The whole reason he’d formed his own league with a few friends was because of his deep disregard for the actual rules of baseball. He likes the outfit, swinging the bat, spitting when standing at the plate. When he can get it he likes chewing gum to make it seem more authentic. But he was agnostic about what order to run the bases, counter-clockwise, clockwise? Also it wasn’t clear in his game that anything could count as an “out.” As the summer moved forward I’d sometimes fret at night whether baseball camp would be a total disaster. 

Last week we realized he needed cleats, and trying them on the woman at our fantastic little sporting goods place tied them up and told him to run around to test them out. “But I’m not going to run in these,” he told her confidently. Uh oh. Our only hope was that his natural athleticism would overcome his utter ignorance of the various activities that make up the sport.

Yet what ended his season early wasn’t his disregard for the specifics of the game, it was a fateful slide for third he did Sunday night, down the hall on the way to brushing his teeth. He slid right into the door frame, hand first, and broke a bone in his right pinkie.

The doctor knew this wasn’t our first time at the rodeo. “You remember where xray is, right?” Oh yes we did.

But unlike our previous visits, where my kids have been amazingly stoic during the tedious xray, wait, cast process, Jaden’s heart was broken when he heard he’d need a splint, and couldn’t play baseball. Tears ran down his face. He cried and cried, never mind the doctors and nurses and cast techs and a waiting room full of people. His summer baseball career was over before it started, and he took it hard. 

A frappuccino helped a tiny bit, but despite some other camp options, he’s moping at home today, taking in the tough, sad lesson that sometimes our dreams don’t pan out. 

“Next summer,” he told me this morning, I’ll do 4 weeks of baseball camp! Ugh. Will someone please help me tell him he’s got to learn some of the rules first?