I have never regretted having only daughters. My girls are absolutely amazing and I would not change a single thing about them. But with having only daughters though, I have always tried to temper expectations for some things that I always dreamed of doing with my kids, like going to ball games together, going fishing, and above all, playing catch. I just did not think they would like these things and I did not want to put any pressure on them just because that was part of my dream of being a father, whereas, if I had boys, these would likely occur over the course of time. But, as always, these girls just keep surprising me (you are probably sick of me saying that and I really should stop being surprised).
When Elaina was three, we went to our first baseball game together and she loved it (she associated “baseball” more with hot dogs and ice cream than homeruns and strikeouts, but I will take what I can get). And about eight months later, Elaina wanted to go fishing with me, so we bought her a children’s fishing pole and tackle box and we went fishing, and she loved it. And about two months ago, Gabriella absolutely shocked me by wanting to play catch… without me even asking.
I grew up on baseball. My Dad was very proud in telling people that I attended my first baseball game when I was only a few weeks old and he, my brother, and I attended two World Series games together in the late 80s (Go Oakland Athletics!). Some of my fondest memories were just countless hours spent playing catch with my Dad, and like every man in existence, I dreamed of one day playing catch with a little boy of my own.
And then the ultrasound revealed that we were having a girl (and the same two years later via a large box and pink balloons), so I put that dream of one day playing catch with my little one in storage. I purchased Elaina a pink mitt and foam ball a few years ago, but after she wore it for a few hours, the excitement wore off and it has been on her shelf ever since. Recently, Gabriella saw the same mitt in the Post Exchange and insisted that I buy it for her, almost begging me. I was kind of surprised, but caved in, because we all know that I am an absolute pushover when it comes to my girls.
So I bought Gabriella the mitt and her excitement actually lasted the entire car ride home. She got out and immediately wanted to play catch. I needed to stretch out the glove a little, but she start out pretty good. She already knew how to throw pretty well, but just needed to work on catching the ball. Holding the glove while I gently tossed the ball at it was a good starting point for learning to catch.
Because I was throwing it underhand at the start, she thought it was funny to do it as well. It just meant that I had to stop going easy on her and throw it overhand; I think the cats got the most out of that adjustment. But she learned to catch it eventually by closing her glove at the right time.
I cannot explain how amazing of an experience this was. For about 20 minutes, we were throwing the ball back and forth with minimal drops or errant throws. Gabriella was taking it seriously and it made me so happy. This development was completely unexpected and it made my year. 2020 may have been a terrible for everyone, but at least I got to play catch with my daughter.
Thanks for checking in on us.