If you stick with baseball to a certain point, you will learn this lesson early: The difference between hitters that advance and hitters that don’t is not whether they can hit the fastball, but whether they can hit the breaking ball.
It makes sense when you think about it. A pitch with zip is going to stay very flat. You only have to make one adjustment to hit it. You just need to time your swing to the pitch because you know where the ball is going. The breaking ball is completely different. It moves at different speeds. It breaks away or down and away. It breaks in or down and in. Or the bottom just falls out of it.
You have to learn to recognize the pitchers grip, the angle of the arm, and the speed of the rotation in order to know where it is going to be because you don’t swing at where it is, you have to swing at where it will be.
Parenting is very similar. Most days, we are getting fastballs. Things are coming in fast and frantic, but once you adjust to the pace, you are going to do pretty well.
Then there are the other days. Those are the days something completely unexpected happens. I am not talking about a flat tire, or someone getting in sick in the car on the way to school. Those are unexpected, but that is just a faster pace. The “other days” I am thinking about are not just abnormal, but are defining. Something happens that you recognize as a parent will change the course of your family, and you are going to need to adjust or you are going to strike out.
We had one of those days on Friday. Bright Eyes had her 4 year check and at her check we learned some things about our little butterfly that is a complete curve. We knew she was high risk for many different complications when we received her because she had such a rough start (that is a miraculous and long story for another time). Since she had been doing so well with her progress we started to get the hitter’s blinders on. You think you know what pitch is coming because the pitcher hasn’t shown anything else. We were expecting more fastballs. What we learned is, no one really knows what is going on, but the gap between what she is mastering and what her peers are mastering is widening. A lot. She has 5 hours of therapy every week already and she is still falling behind. Her motor skills are not developing at he pace they need to and we don’t yet know the extent of the problem.
Big words are being aired and they all mean different things for her future. We have been referred back to a team of specialists to learn more about her challenges and how to help her. The discovery process alone is going to be a major adjustment. We have no idea what adjustments are going to be necessary to help her after we know what is going on. Whatever those adjustments are and whatever her future will be, it will not look like other children’s futures. She may live a normal life when she is grown. We don’t know yet if that is possible. We do know that we have a lot of work cut out for us if there is going to be remote chance of that.
The bottom line is we just saw the pitcher’s grip and realized we are not getting a fastball this time. But, we have no idea what is coming and that is very faith building place to be. Hitting coaches will usually tell you to relax in the box. If you are tense, you will not hit well. That is certainly true for me. In this case, we don’t know what is coming, but we can relax because we know who is throwing the pitches and He doesn’t want us to strike out. On the contrary, He is teaching us, and building us. He is teaching us to hit the curve ball because someone has to. For our children, we will gladly learn to hit whatever pitch we need to, no matter how many times we get beaned learning to do it. Yes, learning to hit the curve can be a painful and humbling experience, but that is how you become a better hitter and a better parent.