Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Dear Field of Dreams


Dear Field of Dreams,

You have been an enigma to me since your theatrical release in 1989.  It has taken me more than twenty years to find the magic that you embody.

The first time I watched Field of Dreams was the night of Junior Prom.  Our group of friends planned to see a midnight movie after the prom.  I did not voice an opinion as to the choice of movie.  It didn’t matter to me what we watched, as I was still basking in the delight of having been asked to the prom by a dreamy, blond-haired blue-eye boy one year my junior.  I was already in Heaven that night even before the movie took us to Iowa.

Truth be told, I didn’t 'get' the movie, that night, nor for the next twenty years.  I knew nothing about baseball.  It wasn’t in my ‘newly-American’ blood.  But when that giddy girl in the dark movie theater stole a glance at her prom date during the movie, I knew I was missing out on something tremendous.  His gorgeous blue eyes were surrounded by pink and wallowing behind a pool of tears.  At age fifteen, he felt something from that movie that was completely out of my realm.  

It’s about fathers and sons--Dear Husband would explain to me a decade later, when we watched it again on TV.  The movie is symbolic of an unspoken bond--the love between fathers and sons--represented by this great American sport.  This very movie struck a sensitive chord with male audiences as it successfully and unquestionably made grown men weep.  

Perhaps I’m a very literal person.  I didn’t understand the fantastical themes of the movie.  Kevin Costner’s bewildered expression that lasted the entire movie also did not help with my comprehension of the existent emotional thought process going on inside a man’s head.  The voices, the ghosts of baseball players, and the pain-easing thoughts were all toying with my logical and analytical mind.

To help counter my naivete, DH took me to baseball games.  And I tried-- really tried--to get into the games.  I knew the basics of the rules, and watched the pitches and the hits and the fouls.  But in the end, the highlights of these baseball games for me were basically eating nachos and hot dogs and singing during the seventh inning stretch.  After which I was ready to go home.  

I chalked it up to a Mars-verses-Venus thing and gave up on trying to understand it.  

Fast forward another decade.  This past weekend, Dear Daughter had a violin performance in Dubuque, Iowa.  Again, DH suggested that we visit the Field of Dreams baseball field that is close by in Dyersville, Iowa, just as he did over a decade ago the last time we visited the area.  As you can imagine how I felt about baseball, my reaction the first time was, ‘meh’, so we didn’t go.  This time, with two kids in tow, I reconsidered, for their sake.  As you know, life isn’t all about me anymore.  (Yes, my poor DH, indeed).  So we packed up Dear Son’s Spider-Man baseball bat and ball, brought the kiddos’ caps, and outfitted DS in his White Sox T-shirt and DH in his Cubs T-shirt.  We were gonna go hit some balls over in 'Heaven'.

In the hotel room before we went, DH quietly shared with me a tender thought.  He said he was sad that he couldn't share that All-American father-and-son baseball tradition with DS.  He described to me how fathers break in a new baseball glove with their sons by oiling the mitt, putting a baseball inside it, tying it and placing it under the sun and subsequently in a cool dark place.  I asked why he wouldn't be able to share that with DS, and he simply replied that since he never had those experiences with his father before, he would just be emulating some directions rather than following a meaningful tradition.  Oh.  I assured him that he was, in his own ways, passing on many other valuable cultural traditions to DS that he does know well.  We wrapped up the conversation and headed out.  But in my head I marveled at the depth of thought that DH had on baseball and his beloved son. 

As you can imagine, I was not jumping up and down to go see a baseball field.  It was a scorching, hot day, and I had to do my thing with sunscreen on the kiddos, much to the dismay of my sensory processing disorder.  Off they went onto the field, and I followed with my camera phone as soon as I finished slathering sunscreen on myself.  Interestingly, I found myself strangely enthusiastic about the field as soon as I stepped onto it.

One of the things DH immediately noticed was that the corn fields looked drastically different than in the movie.  It turns out that now is the season of baby corn stalks, not the fully grown, seven-feet-tall ones.  That made things a lot different, because DH wanted to walk into the cornfield (you’d understand if you saw the movie).  But, sadly, all we saw were corn stalks that didn't even quite reach our knees.

I went onto the field and walked straight to the back to take pictures of the baby corn plants.  I thought it was kind of funny and wanted to capture that ‘not-quite-the-experience’ photo of the cornfield.  Well, with no real perspective, the short corn photos came out uninteresting and didn’t mean much.  So I turned around and to snap pictures of the field itself.  

That was when I saw that the kiddos had begun to hit balls with Daddy.  DS ran to first base, and DD was up to bat.  I immediately felt a surge of excitement as I waved DS to second base after DD hit the ball.  It dawned on me that this was his very first time running the bases of a real baseball field.  Something inside me kicked in and I got really pumped up.  DH batted, and I followed.  We took turns and ran the bases.  Me, in my flip flops, getting sand and dirt into my toes, and I didn’t care.  I watched DH and the kiddos and felt--completely happy.  

The picture above captured it all.  DD was pitching in her all-serious, by-the-books, and methodical way.  DH was batting not-so-seriously with a Spider-Man bat.  And DS was on first base with his typical stance--head cocked to the side, pigeon-toed, and having very little clue as to what was going on.  It was the perfect picture.  And I was soaking all of this in: the bright sunshine, the blue skies, the green grass, the leisurely ambiance, the smiles on the people I loved, and the field that made all this possible.  It felt magical.  

We didn't get to walk through the cornfields.  I didn't hear any voices.  There were no home runs.  But I felt something I never felt about a baseball field before.  I felt that I was on the Field of My Dreams.  I was reaping the fruit of that teenage girl in me who once dreamed to find a soul mate, a life partner, and the love of her life.  He was there on that field.  I was collecting the prizes on a treasure hunt by the once child-less me, now with two precious miracles of my own.  And they were on that field.

It was a feeling of completeness.

In the end, I may never feel that love for baseball as some men do.  DH may never feel that father-and-son bonding via baseball.  But we connected with this baseball field in our own ways as parents, and we created memories for our chidlren.  Except next time, we will make sure we time it so that we'd be walking into seven-feet-tall cornstalks.

So, Field of Dreams, what was it that made me feel your magic twenty-something years later?  Perhaps it was the Spider-Man bat and ball.  Or perhaps it is the culmination of twenty some-odd years of life experience, gaining some of what I didn't have before (knowledge and insight), and losing some of what was holding me back (innocence and inexperience).  Or perhaps because it was Iowa, and we were indeed in Heaven.




Sincerely,
Me



 
Memories Captured Linkup here.


43 comments:

  1. This is my new favorite post of yours.
    I love the theme, i love how it starts in one place and ends up in another, i love how all-encompassing it is...
    Mostly, though, I love that I can "hear" you, that you went deep down inside to collect these words...
    And they are beautifull. :)
    *typed this on iPad, so, there must be 543 typos*

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    1. I think it's rather funny that it took me 20+ years to get to this point. Now I'll always see that movie with a completely different eye. It was one of those posts that I couldn't wait to write. The words just all spilled out... Thank you ever so much for your kind comment.

      And no, there were ZERO typos. =) I could never get used to typing on the iPad! (BTW, I got Snapseed for free, but I *can't* use it until I get an iPhone! We only have a first generation iPad that the kiddos use to play games. Such a bummer.)

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  2. Beautifully written. I echo your husband's sentiments about baseball. I yearn to fill my sons' childhoods with that which wasn't mine but don't know if I can.
    Blake

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    1. Ah, Blake, with three sons, I wonder how *you* feel about this movie and its themes? =) Like I said to DH, you can, and you will, just with what you know or what you're willing to learn. We are the generation what truly bridges the cultural gap for our children, and we choose what they ought to experience -- which is most likely the best of both cultures, no?

      Thank you for coming back to read my blog. I've missed being in touch. Hope all is well!

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  3. I'm a little embarrassed to admit this, but I haven't seen that movie. I'm with you on not quite getting the allure of the game. Not everyone does, though. My husband and kids don't have a baseball tradition going - maybe it's because he didn't have a dad who made time for him? I don't know.

    Even though I haven't seen the movie, I can relate to the bonding experience that you had on that field. Thanks for sharing it in this beautifully written post :)

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    1. Don't be embarrassed at all. I wouldn't have watched that movie if it weren't for the prom! Not all families have a baseball tradition, and it's not because time was not made for the kids, but it just isn't a part of the family. Just like how it is for us. But I feel very enlightened now that I can sort of understand what the enigma was. =) Thank you for reading this, Janna!

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  4. Lovely writing as usual, Sandra. And the story of your journey - which is not just about appreciating baseball ;-0 - made my eyes mist.

    ~ Imelda

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    1. Thank you, Imelda, for reading this long-winded piece about me sorting out my feeling about a baseball field! Self-discovery can be a very self-absorbed process, so I appreciate you coming along the ride with me! =)

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  5. Oh that is so sweet. I'm with you in that I don't really love that movie (shhhh don't tell my husband), but I totally get the sports rituals and how special they are. Unfortunately Mister Man really don't get or like baseball and Little Miss isn't quite there yet. BUT were we to make it to Iowa, I'm sure we'd stop and play there.

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    1. Michelle, so it isn't really odd that this was DS' first time running the bases of a baseball field, right? We've never been a baseball family, probably much to my credit (sorry, hubs). But yes, do stop by at the field if you are ever in the area; you've got to experience it for yourselves!

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  6. This is a beautifully written post. It sounds like you all had a magical time.

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    1. Thank you so much for stopping by to read this! We did have a grand time, much to my surprise!

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  7. The magic is all in that moment, isn't it?

    Thank you for linking up with Memories Captured!

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    1. There was magic on that field, indeed. That moment will be forever treasured. Thanks for reading and hosting the linkup!

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  8. What a beautiful ode to this moment, and falling in love with a new tradition!

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    1. Thank you, Galit! I definitely wanted to pay tribute to that moment. Thanks for allowing me to share it with your linkup.

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  9. Great post!
    I did see the movie a long time ago and I can't believe how young Kevin Costner looked back then... Then again I just watched the Hatfield and McCoy movie with him last week where he looks way older than he actually is;)
    Anyway - I very much enjoyed reading your blog. And very touching how you described that moment of joy when it finally all comes together and a new family tradition starts.

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    1. How does time go by so fast and we don't really even realize it? It has been over twenty years, so Costner did look so very young in that movie! Thank you so much for your kind comment, Kerstin. I really appreciate your thoughtful words!

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  10. This is SUCH a great post. I love it. Field of Dreams is one of my husband's favorites as well as mine. While I can't get into an actual baseball game, the movie was wonderful.

    Traditions have to start somewhere and your son will always remember this as will your hubby, your daughter, and most of all, you. I can't wait until my husband and I can provide some traditions with our children.

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    1. First of all, thank you for reading this very long post. I had a bit of 'word diarrhea' as if you couldn't tell. I really do hope that the kiddos remember this fondly. Secondly, sometimes traditions start by happenstance, so yours may begin when you're most unsuspecting! I appreciate your comments!

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  11. Such a great and wonderful story. I am by no means a baseball fan ( I grew up in Germany after all and we eat, sleep and breathe soccer) :) but I did enjoy that movie a lot. It would be kind of cool to see that baseball field for real... You certainly captured some great memories there!

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    1. Thank you so much, Susi! Strangely, that baseball field was just like any other baseball field (with the white house in the background), but there WAS something magical about it. I've learned that you don't really have to be a baseball fan to love what a sport can represent! =)

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  12. Everyone's "Field of Dreams" is different. What is important is that you have one at all!

    Great post. A memory your family with surely remember for a lifetime!

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    1. You are right! It's important that we have our own moments, however different they may be! Thanks for stopping by, Samantha!

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  13. What a wonderful moment to share with your family. What I love the most is that you stepped out of yourself to do it. You left behind the ghost of what you think about baseball or that film in general in order to believe, for just a few minutes, in the same magic as your family.

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    1. Hi, Jessie! I really was grateful to have felt the magic that my DH believed in all these years. It only took twenty years and actually stepping on that field. Hey, better late than never, right? Thanks for your comments!

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  14. Love that you got to share this moment with your family no matter how reluctantly it came to be! My daughter and husband share the baseball/softball bond. They would love to play on that field

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    1. Thank you, Heather! I am glad my reluctance didn't get the better of me. How wonderful your daughter and husband share the love of this sport! They will certainly have many fond memories of it through the years!

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  15. This is my first time here (I think), and it's most certainly not my last! This post was excellent. I loved the spin toward the end about it being YOUR field of dreams. So precious! Stopping by from Memories Captured.

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    1. It's very nice to meet you, Adrienne! Thank you for your kind words and I appreciate you stopping by. Followed you back on Twitter!

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  16. Visiting from Memories Captured and so glad I did. I loved that movie - have seen it a few times for sure. And I really enjoyed reading this post...you have a great writing style and it was really touching. The movie clip at the end was perfect!

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    1. Thank you so much, Mommy Inconsistent! DH actually put this movie in his amazon.com inbox intending to buy it for DD to watch. I can't wait to see it again with a whole new different eye! The clip is a very touching moment, one that I can relate to a lot more now that I have kids of my own.

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  17. You definitely make me feel like I should watch Field of Dreams. I've somehow never seen it. Wonderful post!

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    1. Yikes, sorry for this late reply, but I do appreciate you stopping by and reading, Katie! Thank you.

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  18. I loved that movie. How wonderful that you might have just started a tradition there. Maybe not now, but later on, they will bond the way your DH wanted - over baseball. ;)

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    1. Hi, Janice, I'm sorry to be responding to a Memories Captured post from a month ago. Thank you for your comment, and yes, maybe baseball will have a place in our home some point down the line!

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  19. What a great post Sandra. I played softball in grade school and my parents didn't go to the games and I didn't bond with anyone about baseball until I met Chris and by then i had temporarily forgot I loved it until he made me go to game after game and then I remembered. But true love was not had until I met the Red Sox who hadn't won a championship in like 100 years. I loved those guys for their gumption!! I guess I was their good luck charm because I went to several games and they did better and better. I then moved to Boston and I sat on my couch every night, when they played, biting my lip praying for them to win the championship and they did. Now when Joey (my son) plays, it brings me back to enjoying such a great sport and this time I make sure Joey knows I'm watching him every time.

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    1. It is true that watching or participating in sports such as baseball really allow us to internalize and bond with the sport. I've been thinking about having DS try it. Will you guys still play in the fall? I'll have to ask you which program later. I always love your comments; thank you!

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    2. Thanks Sandra :) Yes t-ball in the fall i hope!! It's fun, there is no score in t-ball.

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  20. Oh my.

    Sandra, to be honest, I'm not even sure how I ended up on your blog, but boy am I glad I stumbled across it! Your writing style is so beautiful and effortless, it reads just as if I were hearing you tell the story face to face. I don't know much about baseball, but I really connected with your recollection, it almost brought me to tears!

    Thank you for sharing! :)

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    1. Wow, thank you, Steph! How wonderful it was for me to wake up to see such a nice comment on an older post! I'm so glad you enjoyed reading it. (I just followed you on Twitter, in case you don't know who that was. And if you prefer to only accept people you know, that's okay--I won't be offended! =))

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  21. I LOVED this post. I found it by way of the Trifecta, Meet Your Fellow Trifectans, Meme. I just posted my own and decided to see how others had answered the questions they put forth in an effort to get to know everyone. This was such a lovely story and I almost felt I was standing on the field with you. I love when writing creates a picture and I could see it and feel it and I just loved it.

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    1. Mary Beth, thank you so much for stopping by, reading this post, and taking the time to leave such a kind comment! I just clicked over to your blog and boy was I glad to see Goodbye Whoopee Pie! Hello, fellow Trifectan! Not only do I recognize your blog, but also your handle on Janna's blog! It's so nice to "meet" you here! Truthfully, I haven't been a good Trifectan lately. Either I've been uninspired, or I may be intimidated by all the awesome talent of this bunch. I need to get writing again!! I'm hopping over back to yours now! Thanks again!

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