After my call for help for something to write about, I received a few suggestions on Facebook and in person. My cousin suggested I write something about that feeling of joy and anxiety every Red Sox fan feels each February when players start reporting for spring training. A friend said she needed advice because her 18 month old was starting to give up her afternoon nap. A few folks have asked for an update on my NaNoWriMo project.
For a few days, I’ve wondered how I wanted to tackle each idea. After all, I promised I would write about whatever you suggested. I’m not one to go back on a promise, even if these seemed like three completely unrelated topics.
Until I realized, they aren’t. They are completely related. The commonality? Hope.
Despite two recent World Series Championships, Red Sox fans hear one phrase each February when the first players start reporting for practice in Fort Myers, Florida. A phrase whispered across generations. A phrase that very nearly is cliche except for the sincerity and intensity of its utterance after years and years of near misses in October.
“This is the year.”
For me and my family of Red Sox fans, we watch the new year’s roster report, analyze personalities, consider off-season injury recovery, and declare that yes, indeed, this could be the year. With “the Curse” finally being broken, we are almost more anxious having tasted the sweetness of victory. We are excited. We are very nearly giddy. Underneath all that positive emotion, we are anxious, frightened, doubting (86 years of disappointment is hard to brush off) as this group of men we blindly follow based on the jersey they wear hold our emotional well being in their hands from April until October. And so we do the only thing we can. We hope. We hope for a fun season. We hope for victory. And above all, we hope that at least if we don’t win, neither do the Yankees. *shiver*
My friend with the nap-averse toddler, well, that’s a whole other level of hope. Peanut gave up his nap early, not 18 months early, but he probably started showing the signs that young. He’d boycott an occasional nap, but then take them back up after several days without one. Once he hit two, he’d refuse a few more, but accepted quiet time, even giving in to an occasional nap when I thought for sure there was no way that bouncing in the crib was going to stop. At two and a half, about the same time I got pregnant and my body desperately craved being vertical for at least an hour each afternoon, he was done. I still put him in his room, hoping against all hopes that maybe, just maybe, that would be the day he would quietly sit in bed reading books or by some miracle, fall asleep.
It wasn’t meant to be. I hope, for my friend, that her little one is simply in a phase and quickly remembers the joy of her nap time because I haven’t a clue what to tell her to do. Other than to keep putting that child down each afternoon and hope for the best.
Finally, my NaNoWriMo project. In all honesty, I haven’t even opened the file since November 30th. As proud as I am of accomplishing 50,860 words in 30 days, I am just as disappointed in myself for ignoring its presence the last 87. It’s a scary prospect, reading back words that I pounded out. I’m convinced it must be horrible and it seems easier to ignore it rather than confirming my worst fears.
As long as it remains unopened, I can still hope that maybe, just maybe it’s at the very least mediocre. I can hope that I have what it takes. I can hope there is a nugget of some measure of talent in its pages that will propel me on to fight to the finish and eventually see those words, my words, in print one day. On paper. In between two hard covers. On a book shelf. In a real store.
So I hope. I hope I have the courage to open that document. I hope my friend’s child takes a nap. I hope the Red Sox win it all again this year.
Because what do we have if we don’t have hope?
Well, Cheerios on the floor. I always have those.