“What does he do?”
Daisy shrugs. “He’s in the Army, but Ethan thinks he’s Special Forces or something like that and just can’t tell us. I honestly thought he really didn’t exist, but he was at our wedding and stayed the entire month we were in the Keys.”
I’ve always pictured Special Forces men to be huge, with bulged-out muscles, but Mike doesn’t look anything like I’ve pictured. I suppose looks can be deceiving.
Daisy tells me that Ethan has a full count, and that has her with her hands clasped in front of her and rocking back and forth. Shea is egging her uncle on, telling him that he needs to figure it out. I can’t help but laugh and wonder if the daughter Cooper and I are having will be anything like Shea. Yesterday when I met her, she was prim and proper, and today she’s full-on tomboy. For her, it’s probably the best of both worlds.
Ethan tosses his bat down and jogs down to first base. This makes the Davenports happy, and Shea is now sitting comfortably on her dad’s lap. Ethan never makes it past first, though, as the other batters either strike out or the hits are caught.
“This is turning into a pitching duel,” Mr. Davenport says. Daisy agrees with him while Mike offers his own comments. I haven’t a clue what any of this means so I sit back and watch as Cooper runs out to center field in the top of the third inning. When his face is on the Jumbotron, I get giddy and clap for him.
When he told me that he had been chosen to play in the All-Star Game, I was happy. I didn’t know what it meant until he explained the importance of it, especially since he hadn’t been playing well for most of the season. And now he’s out in center field, among his peers waiting for some action.
The first batter to step into the box is a big dude.
“He looks like he can crush it,” I say to Daisy, who nods.
“He can, and center field is his favorite spot.”
“Shit,” I mutter. Even though I have faith in Cooper, I’d rather things be easy for him so he’s not stressing out.
The batter swings and connects with the ball. It flies straight toward Cooper, but he’s running toward it. I grip Daisy’s arm thinking the ball is going to go over his head, but it’s dropping fast. Cooper lies out, snagging the ball in mid-flight before landing and sliding on his stomach.
I stand, waiting to see if he has the ball. When he raises his hand, the stadium erupts in cheers and his heroic efforts are replayed on the big screen, causing everyone around us to shout even louder.
“Wow,” I say as I sit back down.
“Is this really the first time you’ve watched him play?” Mrs. Davenport asks.
Embarrassment washes over me as I nod. “I saw him in Fort Myers once, but the rest of the games have been on television.”
“Oh, sweetie, you really need to go to the games with Daisy. Cooper is a very good player, one of the best,” she says, beaming with pride as if Cooper were her son.
“I’ll make sure she’s there,” Daisy tells her mother-in-law, who smiles back in kind.
“I guess I’ve been missing a lot, huh?”
“It’s okay. We still have a long season left.”
In between innings, I volunteer to take Shea to the restroom. I have to go too but have been trying to hold out as long as possible. Walking hand in hand with her, I figure this could be a good test of my parenting skills. If I can keep track of a toddler, then I should be golden with newborns. It’s a lie that I keep telling myself because there’s no way I’m prepared for a baby, let alone two.
Once we’ve gone and washed up, Shea convinces me that she needs some cotton candy. I know I should probably ask her parents, but the thought of walking all the way back down and up the stairs a
gain doesn’t sit well with me, so we wait in line and she fills me in on her uncle’s baseball stats. I’m amazed at how much she has memorized and find myself asking her if she’s making them up.
“Nope. Mommy reads them to me at night before bed.”
“Wouldn’t you rather hear a bedtime story?”
She shakes her head. “I love my unc and want to know everything.”
We step up to the counter, ordering a pink cotton candy and seven waters. When everything is on the counter, I realize that I can’t hold the waters and her hand at the same time.
“Shea, what does your mommy do when she can’t hold your hand?”
“I have to hold her shirt.”