On the Mound
The baseball hit the catcher’s glove and was then airborne again as it sailed from the catcher’s hand back to the pitcher. The pitcher caught the ball and turned to walk back onto his spot on the mound. With intensity he turned and stared into the strike zone, and then began his wind up.
Rock back, leg up, arm back, step, throw, follow-through.
It was beautiful.
This 10-year-old pitcher’s wind up was not anything out of the ordinary. He wasn’t spectacular on the mound, or the best pitcher in the league. But he was accurate, coordinated, tall, and confident.
And he is cancer survivor.
And I’m his mom.
Honestly, it’s hard to even put into words how I feel when I sit on those hard metal bleachers and watch my fifth grader on the mound. Sure, there’s the normal motherly pride in seeing your child succeed in something they enjoy, but it’s more than that.
It’s not the strikes, or the balls, or even the wild pitches that get me riled up. It’s the fact that Karson is there, playing Little League with his peers. He’s happy and thriving and developmentally exactly where he should be.
And he’s alive.
And, unless someone happens to know his story – that he had leukemia as a toddler and underwent more than three years of chemotherapy – they would never guess he’s what you call a “cancer kid.”
They’d never know that the arm that reaches out with the leather glove and catches the ball is the same arm that a few hours earlier got poked by a needle used to draw blood for a cancer check-up.
A cancer check-up that showed that after five years off chemo, Karson remains healthy and cancer-free.
The emotions I feel aren’t as raw as they were eight years ago when my baby boy was diagnosed, but they’re just as real.
How do I even put into words how it feels to know that our son survived cancer and now plays baseball and spits sunflower seeds in the dugout with his buddies?
So instead, I sit with my husband and the other baseball parents and I cheer. And sometimes I choke back the tears as I watch that pitcher in the blue jersey.
Because that boy is a cancer survivor. He’s alive. And he’s my son.
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