Winter took a long time to leave New Jersey. It began early with the two week depression of Hurricane Sandy and then lingered with grey skies and dirty snow for far too long. March behaved like February. A warm, sunny spring is our reward for surviving the melancholy winter. People emerged from their bunker-like homes with smiles and warm greetings for neighbors not seen for many months. Suddenly, we have too many parties and social events. The flowering trees have too many impossibly bright blossoms. The grass is too green. It's excessive and over-the-top, like the Jersey ladies leaving Nordstroms with too many designer shoes. But it's also so very lovely.
On Saturday, Steve mowed the lawn, which he babies with chemicals and carefully placed water sprinklers. I poured bags of top soil and mulch around the gardens. I planted dahlias and peonies - big showy flowers in magenta and hot pink. I'll plant more useful and more subtle plants later this month, but right now I'm in a hot pink, over-the-top mood.
The boys both had sports activities on Sunday. Since the times overlapped, we split up. I took Ian to his special ed baseball, while Steve took Jonah to church and then to a soccer match.
At 10, Ian and I went to the main sports field in town right in front of the library and the town hall with the river rock foundation. He was given a maroon t-shirt and ball cap with the logo from the homemade ice-cream shop in town. Like everything in this town, the special ed baseball team was perfectly organized.
Baseball is the toughest sport for kids with special needs, because it involves a lot of waiting around time. Kids with the attention span of five seconds cannot stand still waiting for a ball to fly their way in left field. Also, the mitt is hard for them to manage. So, a typical game isn't possible. They broke the kids into small groups and had them rotate every ten minutes to a different station. They moved from the base running station to the batting station to the throwing and catching station. Someone put the soundtrack to "The Little Mermaid" on the sound system.
Ian was assigned two round-faced, cheerful high school girl volunteers. Their hair was pulled back in ponytails and secured with headbands. I told him to listen to them and then retreated to the bandshell with my book. Ian does better without me micromanaging the volunteers. I looked up a couple of times to make sure that he wasn't taking a nap on the field, but he was doing great, so I got lost in Gone Girl for an hour and a half.
Towards the end of the session, the organizers had the kids play a five minute game. Each kid had two volunteers behind them on the field. When the boy with cerebral palsy came to bat, someone held his arms and hit the ball for him. His heavy electronic wheelchair got stuck in the sand, so three high school kids pushed his chair around the bases. He waved his arms with clawed hands in the air and whooped with joy.
Ian proudly told me that he got an inside the park homerun and that he really need ice-cream from the store on the back of his t-shirt. Ten minutes later, with chocolatey faces, we raced off to catch the end of Jonah's game.
Jonah's game was about twenty minutes away in a town just over the New York state border. In a "Sex in the City" episode, Sarah Jessica Parker's character goes to her boyfriend's weekend house in the woods. The city girl complained to her friends that she was "sufferin' in Suffern." Suffern is like a lot of towns in Rockland County, a mix of Hasidic Jewish schools, old townie homes with furniture on the front lawn, and massive, newly constructed McManions set up for the corporate park-types. Using the crappy GPS on my cell phone, I finally found the field and cheered for my skinny legged son.
I have a packed week planned here. I have too many blog posts in my head that need to be actually written. I need to research the new magazine article and finish off the current project. My life is really "too much," "over-the-top," and "excessive" right now, and I couldn't be happier.