The kids and I were doing some batting practice on Saturday. It was a glorious day -- blue sky, leaves were at peak, the sun was warm and the breeze just a little nippy. John was catching, I was pitching a tennis ball and Maia was wrestling with the metal bat. Pitching to Maia involves guessing where the bat is going to be and then throwing the ball so it bounces off the bat and Maia can fling the bat away and run the bases while we cheer. It's tricky.
I figured that since Maia was focused on the bat, I could have a sensitive mother-son talk with John.
"Hey John," I said. "I have a question for you."
He put on his serious face, and once again I was struck by how grown-up he's been lately. When he flips the ball back to me, he looks like a high-school catcher. He has a confidence he wears like a new shirt -- not quite sure how it fits, yet proud to have something new.
"I have this thing called a blog. It's a place on the computer where I can write stories and put photos up and other people all around the world can read it."
Maia missed the ball again and ran after it.
"Sometimes, I write stories about you that might be a little embarrassing, but I put them up because they're funny or they show how neat you are, and family members and friends can read them."
"Oh, OK," he said.
"The thing is, some of the stories might be embarrassing, and there are people you don't know who read it."
"Like what, embarrassing?"
"Well, the other day I wrote that you got your first athletic supporter."
John clapped his hands over his mouth and hooted. "That's not embarrassing, that's just funny," he said. But then he got serious. "Can George Bush read it?"
"No, George Bush does not read my blog."
"Well, that's OK then."
"Well, I'm just saying, you're old enough that I figured I should check with you."
He waved his hand. "No, no, that's fine," he said, then ducked as Maia swung and missed again and the ball came at his head. "What else do you write about me?"
So I told him what went up, and he said it was all OK, and then Maia swung the bat and hit a beautiful double up the middle, then threw the bat so she could run and it hit John in the jaw and he dropped like a rock.
He got up and blood was running out of his mouth. He was choking and sobbing and said, "I'm going to go rinse out my mouth!" He ran to the house, spitting and crying, while I ran behind him and Maia ran to second base.
He didn't lose any teeth and his jaw seems to be OK. He has a huge bruise on his jaw and inside his mouth, and lost a big chunk of skin inside his lip. Even today, his speech is muffled by the swelling. He looks like he got punched in a brawl.
As I cleaned his face, I said, "This is the kind of thing I would blog about, if it's OK."
"Yeah, it's OK," he said.
He also said he would like me to put up his latest poem, so here it is:
Ninja Koto creeps through the night
With gleaming sword bright
Watching samurai's every move
Then pounces, like a cat.