In light of the news that David Wright will be retiring from baseball, I wanted to address something that is very painful for David and me to talk about, and yet the defining line in the sand: his retirement. I have opened up about David’s reason for retiring here and there throughout this blog – or at least I think I have – I honestly can’t remember. My mind may as well be putty with the zillion things I am working on at any given moment of the day. Many of you know that I am getting my Master of Arts in Creative Writing and on that side of things, I am spending a lot of time writing, or more accurately, avoiding writing the hard stuff. As a nonfiction student, my thesis, which may or may not ever see the light of day, is all about David and my life. Baseball is obviously a huge part of our lives and therefore I am writing about everything we have experienced in the past six-plus years – the good, the bad, and the ugly.
By far, the most unbearable part of David’s career was his struggle with injuries. The physical ailments affected his mental state, and we all know the impact psychology has on life, in general. Aside from a minor surgery deemed required while playing at The University of Virginia, David’s body had always been whole. When he started playing professionally at 21, there was no concern for his health. Things changed, however, in May of 2010: he broke his ankle. When he slid into second base, ill-intentioned to break up a double-play that cold evening in Portland, Maine, the trajectory of his life would be forever changed. Although we could have lived without the suffering and whirlwind that followed, it was this moment that sealed our fate.
A few years after the initial injury, David and I found our way to the Lord. That is a whole other story but suffice it to say, had it not be for his injury, we aren’t sure what role God would play in our lives today. From that point on, struggling through his brokenness of body, David admitted praying to the Lord and asking quite specifically:
“Lord, I want to play this game as long as my body will allow. Once I am no longer physically able, please help me to acknowledge it is time for me to retire.”
The rest of his playing career was an uphill battle as David suffered through many more injuries, but the solace within all of the chaos was the time we were able to spend together. We experienced four seasons united as husband and wife, one of which he spent primarily in the big leagues. Despite everything, it is comforting to know that all we endured prepared David for the day he would retire, when he knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that it was his time. His heart, his mind, and his body were all in agreement. Since his retirement, I have asked him if he misses playing and if he wishes he could step in the batter’s box one more time and experience the adrenaline that comes from hitting a baseball. His answer is always a variation of,
“Sometimes, but then I go back to the fact that my body feels broken. There would be no way I could physically go out and play the way I am feeling.”
Fair enough, I concur, it was time for him to move on. But moving on as a player didn’t mean he would give up his passion, on the contrary, he would assume a new role that would afford him the opportunity to mentor young players and develop his knowledge of the game. I like to believe this is what he was destined for. The time David spent playing was preparing him for this career. A career that he was still able to transition into at a reasonable point in his life: twenty-nine. Not too young, not too old, justtttt right. (Like our boys like to say.)
So the injuries and the struggles, they hurt like heck to talk about, they bring about terrible memories, and yet without those struggles, without those pivotal experiences, we wouldn’t be where we are today. Since he was a little boy he dreamed of playing into his forties, but we learned the hard way the rarity that is. Sometimes, okay often, I lose sight of what an accomplishment it is for him to have been drafted to play professionally, let alone play in the big leagues. These are all things we must celebrate, but instead, we kick ourselves when we are down. We focus on the things we didn’t accomplish, the mistakes we made, instead of celebrating our successes, no matter how small.
Life is about perspective. A quick adjustment in how you look at things has the ability to change not only your life but the world.
Lastly, David is by no means in the minority of players who struggle with pain on a daily basis. There are many many more guys that go out and play every day and push through their own pain. Most don’t complain because it is of no use to them. In fact, complaining can actually hurt their careers, so they bite their tongues and fight through the discomfort; this is just part of the game, par for the course.
www.zimbio.com/pictures/6ruR57pUZ7B/New+York+Mets+v+New+York+Yankees/rBIsZtPtSPy” rel=”noopener”> Third Base Umpire Bill Welke calls a ball hit by John Buck #44 of the New York Mets fair resulting in an RBI single as David Adams #39 of the New York Yankees reaches down for the ball and David Wright #5 of the New York Mets looks on in the eighth inning during their game on May 30, 2013 at Yankee Stadium in the Bronx borough of New York City. (May 29, 2013 – Source: Al Bello/Getty Images North America)[/caption]http
I was driving in the car with my mother the other day and she said:
“I just now feel like I could be in my thirties.”
My sister and I have always joked that my mom thinks she is a teenager. She is young at heart, despite her body telling her otherwise. At thirty-one, I am starting to identify with what she has been telling us all these years. Time may dictate that we get older, but that doesn’t mean we have to feel older. If it wasn’t for the responsibility that has followed me down the brick road to marriage, homeownership, and motherhood, I would still feel like I was in my early twenties. The fact that I can even write this as if I am not ACTUALLY still twenty is flabbergasting.
I have always believed age to be nothing more than a number, but now I am living it as truth. Our mindset is what dictates the illusive timeline of our lives. We hold the power more than we realize. As I witness the development of my children, I find myself reflecting on my life and the moments that I wish I would’ve been more present. As a society, we are always on the go, but last night I was sitting on the couch with Brooks while he watched Batman, and time seemingly stopped.
Night had fallen around us, and the wind picked up as a large storm swept through the area. The trees were dancing while the thunder and lightning put on a show. All the while, I was sitting cuddled up with my little Brooksie, David and Jethro in the dining room doing yet another puzzle. It was way past bedtime, need not mention bathtime, but it didn’t matter. We were enjoying the moment. Simply being with one another. Bath time and bedtime, inevitable yet inconsequential.
We get wrapped up in our daily chores and the grind that is life, all too often. But these moments, the ones where you can just be still, look in your babies eyes and think, I created you, in absolute astonishment – just like I did last night – are priceless. One day – God-willing- I am going to open my eyes, slowly get out of bed, and wonder where my babies went. They will be in their own homes, maybe even married with babies of their own. That is par for the course. Growing older is not something to dread, it is a privilege afforded to us by a life well lived. We need to thank our lucky stars EVERY. SINGLE. DAY. for simply waking up a day older and hopefully, wiser.
At some point in our lives, we let the flame inside our hearts extinguish, getting wrapped up in the mundane and focused on anything and everything that can be burdensome. Children, on the other hand, live lives full of magic. Remember your imaginary brother? I do. I used to reprimand him all the time. HAHA My kids spend hours playing with their imagination. Half the time Brooks is Batman, and Jethro is Superman. To them, I am Wonder Woman and David is Flash. You can’t help but love the innocence enkindled at their core and their desire to be inventive. As far as they are concerned, the sky is the limit and there is nothing holding them back from being everything they hunger to be and more. As years pass, sometimes that magic sticks with us and other times it dissipates, regardless, we all have it inside. If we can keep this in mind as a token of our youth, maybe we can stay kids forever.
When I decided to take a break from writing about my life as a baseball wife back in 2015 – and if I am honest, 2013 when David could officially call himself a major league baseball player, because everything I wrote after that point was smoke and mirrors and empty promise after empty promise to actually write – and declared this blog “retired,” I never thought I would find my way back. I was done. I didn’t want to put my world on display any longer, and I just wanted to enjoy my life as the wife of a baseball player, in private. But there was a far greater reason for my desire for privacy than my psyche would admit – fear. I was afraid that David would fail. I was afraid that WE would fail. I was afraid of living life in the very moment that God had gifted us, unafraid of what the future held. And I was afraid of doing all this failing in public – where everyone could see.
After David made his MLB debut and spent a good portion of the 2013 baseball season as the Yankees third baseman, I was unsure how to write about our experiences and excitement without feeling like a prideful dodo. I always struggled with this aspect of living the baseball life. How do you share excitement for your husband and all his successes without making others feel poorly about their situation or lack of success? Baseball is ultimately a game – a very competitive one. Not unlike life itself. Everyone seems to be gunning for themselves, fighting and clawing to reach the top. It is ugly at times and I never wanted to give others a reason to look at us as prideful or too self-absorbed.
But the irony of it was, that despite my struggle to combat pridefulness, that is exactly what I became. How? You ask…
Well, I became so apprehensive about sharing our lives so that others didn’t think we were bragging, that I became more focused on preserving our image by NOT sharing our lives. Suddenly the reality of failing in front of thousands of eyes became real. When David first got called up, he was like a moth to a flame. He was even trending on Twitter. It was surreal. He went from the Yankees prospect that grappled with injury after injury and managed to kill the Cliff Lee trade, to the hopeful homegrown rookie, a rarity! WOW, the New York Times, talking about David like he is this rare commodity, talk about a whirlwind.
His first two weeks in the big leagues were a dream. He was breaking records and on track to make a big name for himself if only he could stay consistent throughout the season. But when things slowed down and the adrenaline wore off, he got in his head and couldn’t get out. It was my worst nightmare and probably his worst nightmare, too. He was up in New York, with some of the most passionate fans in baseball, under a microscope, and he started spiraling out of control. He went from hitting streak to hitless streak overnight. What the heck?! I tried so hard to stay positive and reassured myself that this is exactly why I never liked getting excited when he did well, knowing rightfully that there was always another side of the coin that could flip in an instant. But as days became weeks and he was inevitably sent back to Triple-A – on my birthday, no less – I started to panic.
When David got back to Triple-A, he started hitting the ball again, Hallelujah, and things just clicked. It wasn’t long before they called him back up, but as the story often goes your first year in the big leagues, it can be a game of ping-pong, where you are sent up and down all year. Being tossed back and forth was something David scuffled with. Even when he played well, the team needed to make moves and sometimes that meant he had to go back to Triple-A for some time. He soon became resentful of being jolted up and down, and this resentment wreaked havoc on his game. (Anyone who questions the impact of the mind on physical performance, need not go far for a quick lesson.) He ended his year on a terrible note – just check out this quick read – even though he will tell you the home plate umpire was making terrible calls. Well, that is baseball for you!
Now that David is retired (I know I still have to share what happened between 2013 and his retirement in the fall of 2016 at some point) I can look at these years with a greater appreciation. What fun would all of these experiences have been if we had known the outcome in the end? This is why I believe it is so important to enjoy every little moment we are given. We must not live with a hovering concern that we may fail, because it extinguishes your fire and inhibits you from living the life you were meant to live.
Life is full of mystery and wonder. We can’t be entirely sure of what the future holds and as terrifying as that is, it is also what makes life wondrous. Can you imagine? A life where everything was monotone, or black and white and lacking all color? That doesn’t sound interesting at all, so what would be the point?
Living through all of this has brought me back to writing about our lives in baseball, the good, the bad, and the ugly. All of it. Sure, it will be from a slightly different perspective, but I am glad for that. I am proud of my husband, and I will acknowledge it. He deserves my praise and admiration every so often. He is on his path, one that I feel confident is the right one for him. And me? I am living my best life, open and honest about what this life brings and what is yet to come.
The only picture I took at David’s MLB debut. That is him playing third between 2nd and 3rd base. I am starting to take a lot more pictures now!
David’s First Homerun. His mom got this ball.
David’s first interview the day he was called up.
David Adams #39 of the New York Yankees is congratulated by teammate Ichiro Suzuki #31 in the dugout after he scored in the fifth inning against the Toronto Blue Jays on May 17, 2013 at Yankee Stadium in the Bronx borough of New York City. (May 16, 2013 – Source: Elsa/Getty Images North America)
Today, I am thirty-one. Is life in my thirties exactly how I imagined it? Not, exactly.
Time has flown by, our perception moving upward and onward with every passing year. I have become wiser with age, this is true for everyone, but there is still so much to learn. When we are young, opportunities are all around us, but without the wisdom we gain from years of “learning the hard way”, how are we to know what to do with them? Even today, I am at a crossroads; I have been given choices to make, but now, the decisions I settle on will affect my entire family – my husband, my children, even my parents. Despite being older and somewhat wiser, I still struggle with what to do. Do I listen to my heart or logic? I try to silence my mind, but there is so much noise. (My screaming boys surely don’t help with this.)
So as I vacillate back and forth, trying to figure out what path to take, and because it is my birthday, after all, I wanted to reflect on how my life has played out – pun intended. These are a few of the ways that my life has not turned out as I imagined and a few more ways that it has surprised me…
What My Life is Not
It is 2018 and David isn’t playing Major League baseball or professional baseball for that matter. In our hearts, we believed that he would be playing in the big leagues well into our thirties. He was born to play baseball, we always thought, and he had many wonderful years of doing just that, but what we expected to be his predetermined destiny, just wasn’t so. There are so many factors that go into succeeding in the big leagues, and the cards just didn’t fall into place the way we hoped.
As is to be expected, we aren’t where we thought we would be financially speaking, which falls in line with things not going as planned for David professionally. After years of struggling through the minor leagues, I thought we had jumped over a big hurdle when David made his MLB debut on his twenty-sixth birthday – what a good omen?! Yet things just didn’t pan out that way, and the obstacles just kept coming.
After years of jumping around from organization to organization, David hung up his cleats – an expression that we use in baseball. Since his retirement, I also retired from being a stay-at-home-mom. Being at home with the boys day-in and day-out just wasn’t working for me. I was going crazy stuck at home with two toddlers who couldn’t, and still can’t, find a way to keep their hands to themselves. So I put the kids in school full-time, and I went back to work at twenty-nine.
Even though I had tried to work real estate for a while, I always knew a career path as a realtor wasn’t for me. I could give you a list of reasons why, but I will spare you. Nevertheless, since real estate didn’t work out, and my life as a baseball wife was in transition, it was time for me to find work. Work that would bring in a steady income, and that is precisely what I did – just shy of the thirtieth birthday.
What My Life IS
My life is full of blessings. Even though David’s career took a detour earlier than we had planned, I can confidently say that our family is right where it is meant to be. Since he started coaching, I have seen David come to life. He is thrilled with his job, and I have seen him evolve and mature as a man, husband, and father exponentially from it. If I didn’t know better, I would say coaching was his calling from the start. 😉
Somehow, without putting too much thought into when would be the right moment to have children, we had our babies at the perfect time for our family. David and I have two beautiful, healthy boys and I really can’t ask for more than this. Above all, I am grateful for our health and the all the blessings that have been bestowed upon our little family.
Soon after David retired from playing, and right after we both turned thirty, I went back to school to pursue my career as a writer. I have always been passionate about writing, and publishing a book has been in my purview for years. Few things make me as happy as being able to sit and write, but in my twenties, I was preoccupied with other things, and my writing took a backseat.
The biggest lesson I have learned in the last thirty-one years is that time is a gift. It has a way of healing wounds and allowing you to see the beauty in the challenges life throws you. It is in precious time that I have come to realize that if everything were precisely how we had planned, my aspirations would have gone unattended and life would look very different. If things had played out any differently, I highly doubt I would have had the initiative to go back to graduate school and find the drive to write a book, regardless of whether it ever gets published.
My reasons for living and thriving have changed, and my boys have become my why; they are the reason I aspire to do everything I do. David’s change in career was a blessing in disguise, not only has it been wonderful for him, it has also helped me to realize that I need to work on me, too. Focusing solely on his career and my boys’ lives isn’t healthy – there needs to be a balance.
Now suddenly I am thirty-one. I didn’t arrive at my current destination by chance, I am where I am after many years and many more falls, but when I look at everything objectively, I can honestly say my life is exactly how it should be.
I wrote this poem on June 27th, in memory of my nephew, Anthony, who my family lost on the 23rd, just a few days shy of his 22nd birthday. Even as I write this, it doesn’t seem true.
Anthony, was my brother, Ricky’s, only son. He was my father’s first grandchild. This loss has been devastating for the entire family. Despite the funeral being in the past and having seen his body in the casket, I still wake up every day in disbelief. I dream with him and of him; my mind doesn’t rest, thinking of him nonstop. I still feel like his death occurred in another realm, one that isn’t real. How could he be gone? The only comfort I have is that he is with God. I know that God held him in his arms from the moment of the accident. Part of me is holding onto the belief that Anthony is one of the lucky ones – those chosen to be with God at a young age. As in Billy Joel’s song, “Only The Good Die Young,” ironically an anti-Catholic song.
IT’S YOUR BIRTHDAY & I CAN’T REST MY MIND
Today you would have turned twenty-two
Unbelievable. A life lost, far too soon.
My thoughts are shifting, rambling, begging –
We must be living an alternate reality.
I’ve never lost someone so young, so close.
My nephew, you were a brilliant mind, sharp and bright
The pain, the hurt, I ache for your father – my brother –
your sister, your mother – oh your mother –
The pain of losing a child, the greatest pain of all
I need a respite from the unending loop playing in my head.
Who, What, When, Where, How?
The questions answered, yet a blankness looms so great.
I raise my head above the darkness by looking at the light.
Angels are dancing all around you and holding you tight.
Hi everyone! For a while now, I have considered My Serendipitous Life as a Baseball Wife a retired blog. But the truth is, I never stopped being a baseball wife. David retired from playing baseball after the 2016 season with the Blue Jays and he jumped in head first to coaching. He is in his second season as a coach with New York Yankees’ Player Development and WOW, are there a lot of differences between playing and coaching! To say that the last few years have been an adjustment would be an understatement. That being said, I think David is exactly where he is supposed to be. I have decided that I want to pick up where I left off and continue blogging about our life in baseball and I hope that you will join me.
Since I have been silent for the last few years, I will have to reminisce a bit and give you some backstory until I can catch up fully to where we are in our current experiences. I really do hope that you will stick with us through our evolution. In order to grow this blog, however, I have decided to branch away from WordPress.com and create my own self-hosted blog which you can follow at www.MyLifeAsABaseballWife.com.
If you will notice, I dropped Serendipitousfrom the title. Although I love the word serendipity, it just doesn’t align with my beliefs anymore. I believe a lot more in fate than I do serendipity and so it seems appropriate to drop the word altogether and stick to My Life As A Baseball Wife.
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