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Family baseball game is a miracle to treasure

"Com' on you owners! I need some help out here. One of you has to coach at first and I need another one at third," Jennifer, the designated pitcher-umpire, called from her pitcher's mound.

The two teams of baseball players were sort of even ability, or at least as much as anyone could make it when the ages of the players range from 4 to 11.

The "owners," the children's parents who were sitting quite comfortably on the patio, discussed who would go in. It was the first day of summer and no one felt much like getting up to coach. We were having too much fun watching the little ones.

Finally, it was decided that Aunt Monica and Uncle Eric, the newlyweds, would be the adults sent out to the field to help manage this game. After all, they had no children yet and certainly they could handle the kids fairly.

This was 4-year-old Luke's first real game with his cousins and he was still working on batting from the tee, letting go of the bat and running to the correct base in that sequence. I think he ran about 10 miles in the first two innings as he got his bearings.

The lineup called for his 5-year-old cousin, Alex, to follow him. Alex really, really likes competitive sports. When he hit the ball and sent it flying, he took off. Unfortunately, he ran the bases -- passing all of his teammates -- and made it home before Luke made it to second. He took himself out of the game when his mom, the pitcher-umpire, tried to get him to go back to first. Everyone needs a timeout of play once in awhile.

Kaitlyn, the oldest of the All-Star team, did not care for the five-strike rule. Ryan got his football and baseball mixed as he was caught holding the base runner to prevent an advance to the next base. There were 10 cousins all together, but two couldn't play since they aren't walking yet. But they had substitutes in the form of friends of the family who had come to celebrate a first birthday with us. It was better than any World Series game.

The adults on the sidelines sat back and enjoyed another memory-maker. Conversation flowed as they watched the game. No fancy equipment was to be had. A couple of pieces of plywood and a Frisbee marked the bases. A whiffle ball, a plastic bat and a PVC pipe that served as the tee for anyone under 5 served our purposes. The age of the batter determined the amount of defensive play.

Eventually, Jennifer left to take care of the baby and Uncle Eric took over the pitcher's mound. The younger children found the dirt pile to be much more interesting than waiting for their turn to hit the ball. The game lasted about 45 minutes and, at the end, no one knew the score.

Yet the three generations who participated in this pickup game continued the age-old celebration of simple living. Perhaps it is the grandmother part of me that will remember this day for quite awhile and marvel at the miracle of the four daughters, their spouses, their children and some friends enjoying life to the fullest.

The words of Albert Einstein made sense in the light of this day: There are two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle.

Family being together, enjoying each other and growing together -- that is my miracle and I am grateful.

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