What a beautiful day! It is amazing when you are somewhat clean how your receptors start to repair allowing you to be able to sense and feel something as simple as emotions of happiness and even sadness. Being somewhat clean. When I say that I know it may sound weird to most who think “either you are using drugs or you aren’t,” but in an addict’s life there are so many variables that feed into an addiction and I know this is so hard to understand or even believe if you have never been an addict or loved and done life with an addict.
This is as hard to understand as being asked to perform a hip replacement and not knowing where to start or what all is involved. Yes, this is a stretch of comparison but I am just trying to point out the fact that one needs to keep an open mind as addiction in itself is very complicated. Let’s face it, addiction can be traced back thousands of years and shows no prejudice as to why, when, who or where it can destroy. So as a disclaimer, I was clean during this period but knowing today where this goes there were some periods where the future did not always move in a forward direction.
What a beautiful day! Spring brings new growth, fresh smells, new beginnings, and baseball. So much time was being swallowed by our addiction, that when things turned around, we found time to do things as simple as watching one of our children play baseball. As a parent we all know how easy we can live and/or reflect our life through our children and yes, I too am guilty of that. When I was a young boy playing Little League, I can remember the fun in not only playing a sport but the whole picture of excitement, the people in the stands, the build-up, and yes sometimes the let down as things played out. My parents, well let’s just say things were different when I was young and especially within our home. It seemed my Pops was gone a lot either at work or off fighting another war somewhere, and my mom well she had her hands full with four boys, two of which were handicapped in wheelchairs and required constant attention. So, for me playing sports was just me and the team. My parents never showed up. I did not want my children to be solo especially doing things with such enthusiasm and excitement, where sharing the experience with a loved one, especially a parent, was so important. I was just so proud and excited to be part of the whole experience, being the parent shouting “That’s my son!” and watching him achieve with a smile and an expression that a parent knows shows just how happy and pleased they are with their performance. Oh, the emotions and feelings were so good, not just to see the game, but the feeling of allowing ourselves to bask in good fortune.
With my son playing baseball, there was work to be done. It was important to make sure he had the proper equipment and that he was at practice and on time. It was important to practice playing catch and helping him to get better, and well as a father, I felt it was important that I be involved whenever possible. Part of this was helping with the team, making sure there was water, helping with snacks after the games, helping the coaches on the field during practice, you know all the normal stuff to help with the overall goal of building, supporting and strengthening the team. It was showing my children that I saw the value of being on a team and knew it was important to be part of the whole experience. “Look at me doing family stuff!” And yes, it felt good to be part of it!
As we showed up for practice one day all the parents who were helping were asked to fill out a form to offer information on who they were, phone numbers, and other general information. At the bottom of the form there was a place to sign allowing the League to run a background check, explaining that it was to ensure the safety of the children, to protect them from you know murderers, sexual predators, drunks, and such. I’m not even sure how to draw a picture or explain what I was thinking. At first, I didn’t give it much thought, but we all know when our minds begin to freewheel the scenarios and fears that we can concoct, the what-ifs, the feeling of being found out, wondering where this will go, the guilty film on your skin. I was thinking “Hey, I’ve been around the kids here for three weeks and all the coaches and parents can see just how good I am with not only my children but theirs too. All the help I had offered in making sure things were where they needed to be and when they needed to be there should count for something. I am an asset to the team.” I told myself to stop worrying, but we all know what our minds can do and how powerful it can be in directing every thought and every step we take.
A week or so goes by and all is good, right up until one of the coaches came up to me and said “Mr. Hyland, hey I’m sure it’s no big deal but the Board would like to discuss something with you on Saturday morning at 9 am at the Field House. Until then I need you to not help with the boys, maybe just cheer them on from the stands. Again, no big deal. After your meeting on Saturday, we will look forward to your continuing to help the boys.”
All the thoughts running through my head were not good. The embarrassment, the failure, the not understanding, the understanding. What will people think? How am I going to explain to my own son why they have asked me not to have personal contact with his buddies on the team? What is he going to have to tell his friends and the other boys when they ask, “Hey why isn’t your dad helping anymore?” I told myself to stop all the mayhem-type thinking. I told myself that this would work out. I thought to myself “I mean we all make mistakes and hey I have gotten clean, I’m working, they see my family and how normal we are, folks are always talking about second chances. Yeah, Saturday we will get this behind us….”
(See Judgment Day – Part 4)