He can run

My son is in baseball.

This should be a fun, exciting time of life for me, being the mother of a budding athlete, but it’s not. Watching Harrison (almost 7) play baseball brings back an onslaught of painful memories from being a kid who thought sports were the only road to true, lifetime happiness–happiness that was unattainable to me because no matter how hard I tried, I wasn’t going to be that athlete.

So, for the past week, I’ve watched my beautiful son get stuck in the outfield and be last every time to bat. It’s not that he’s bad at sports, it’s that he’s the youngest and the smallest on his team. And I feel like throwing up.

Yesterday I went to a funeral. It was for a boy in our ward who has spent his life struggling with muscular dystrophy, the disease that finally took his life.

Kevin has a huge family of mostly brothers, and these boys love to play sports. They love to play them, watch them, breathe them–they’re about the most passionate bunch of athletes you’ve ever seen. And this sweet, wonderful boy spent his life on the sidelines, watching and cheering. Nobody loved sports more than Kevin.

During the few years he was able to play when he was a small child, he never got on base, never scored a run. And still he was happy.

My friends, I have realized that these things we choose to agonize over as mothers have just about as much validity as spit. Harrison loves baseball, he doesn’t even know the outfield isn’t the best place on the field. He loves his glove, he loves practice, he loves his uniform. He may never be the best at anything, but who in the world cares?

My boy can run. My boy can play. He can hit the ball and make it from first to home, without a thought in this sweet little head. We can hug without worrying about the confines of a wheelchair. I will thank Heavenly Father every day of my life that he’s still here, and he’s still ours.

If you have the time, check out this new video of Stephanie Nielsen, aka Nie Nie. Very inspiring.


  1. Lovely, Annie.

    How are your kidneys?

  2. What a good reminder. And I love that video.

  3. Very sweet and very true Annie, why do we let the little stupid things rock our boats? Learning to be happy and see the big picture is hard, thanks for the reminder! Going to watch the video now–hope you’re feeling good, thinking about you!

  4. Funerals make me introspective and grateful, too. NieNie’s video is amazing.

  5. I loved this. Made me tear up, but it was such a good reminder. I get wrapped up in the other stuff, but I should just be thankful he’s healthy and I can still fix his worries with a hug.

  6. *sigh*
    My boy is signed up for baseball. He starts next week. He’s in soccer right now. And he has absolutely ZERO desire to actually play. He HATES to run, and refuses to most of the time. It’s embarrassing.
    But, yesterday, he asked me when he gets to start playing the violin. I guess this child of mine will be less of an athlete and more an a musician?

  7. Annie, good thoughts today. Don’t you wish that the Big Picture moments could come pain-free though? Big Picture is sometimes so hard to come through. Thanks for this post. XO

  8. I’ve been too busy to come over lately (also not sure how well having a male comment would have gone over on some of them… 🙂 ), but have loved reading every single post in my inbox. This was too good to not leave a comment on, though. Thanks, Annie, for a great reminder and good perspective.

    • annie valentine says:

      We have totally missed your takes, and please note that readers on MY blog like to hear what you have to say.

  9. On hard days I like to remind myself how awesome it is that I even get to have kids, and how things could be a lot harder. But usually that kind of introspection comes hours after the kids go to bed…

  10. Denys Gallentine says:

    I just have to say that along with 1 in 72 other boys in Utah, my boy has “autism”, or some version of it. It scares me to death to think of what he may have to go through in the very near future as he gets ready for 1st grade next school year. I have yet to put him in any kind of extracurricular activity b/c of his delays. I know a lot of people read your blog Annie, and I hope you somebody might read this and know that these kids, and there are a LOT of them out there nowadays…just need a little extra processing time. They’re smart, they’re athletic, they’re sensitive and they remember what you say and do…they just a little extra time to reply to you. At least that’s my boy. They’ve all got their own version of autism, but that’s my boy. He truly is smart, athletic and sensitive. He works sooo hard, I admire him. He just has something in his brain that makes his processing time in the reciprocal communication area slow down. As always, good column.