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The "Cinderella" Story as Written by Courtney Johnson

The "Cinderella" Story as Written by Courtney Johnson

I am so excited to share this post with all of you today. Yesterday I had the pleasure of connecting with a wonderful baseball wife who felt led to share her deepest thoughts and emotions with our baseball family.  Courtney very bravely posted the piece below on a private group we have for baseball wives and girlfriends and the response she received was heartwarming.  So many women, including myself, were incredibly moved by what she had to say.

Even though we are all at different points in our journey, the baseball community shares many of the same emotional, psychological and lastly, physical struggles. This very special life we lead is one of many blessings, but it also comes with many hardships that most will never see or understand.  Many wives commented that they were in tears after reading Courtney’s post and I can say that I had a hard time reading it myself.  I was overwhelmed with emotions that run deep despite my pregnancy hormones. I urge you to take a moment to read the beautifully written piece below;  It will give many a little insight into our baseball lives. Without further ado…

“There’s no Cinderella’s in baseball. Who you are and what you are will show itself sooner or later.” The past week has been one of the toughest for me emotionally. Of course it doesn’t help that I have the hormones of a typhoon raging within, either. But if I were a betting lady I’d be willing to bet that these emotions would be here regardless of the growth of little one. If there is one thing I have come to respect about my husband, it’s that he has the determination of a mule. When you take something from him that he is passionate about, you better get strapped in and buckle down for the ride. Because he’s about to prove himself in ways you didn’t even know existed. Baseball is his first love. The feel of the ball between his fingers, the smell of the grass on the field, the feel of the dirt on the mound, the rush of a setup and the motion of the pitch. All of this is second nature to him. It’s in his blood. In his soul. He has worked harder than I ever contemplated working in his 26 years on this earth. He has sacrificed more sweat and tears than I can count. In 2010 he was drafted into affiliated ball. A dream come true. A dream that suddenly went from one of pure love to one of pure agony. Most people have no idea what a minor leaguer goes through. Believe me, I know there are people out there that literally give up their lives for another. I respect that completely. But there’s something to be said for a guy who puts his life on pause for a game he loves. He packs his stuff, drives off with his family behind, stays in hotels that you wouldn’t even think about stopping at, sleeps on busses for 10-18 hours while traveling to the next field, grinds day in and day out working his body to maximum potentials and fights to keep a job every day because there are others out there hunting for it. Then turns to the fans, smiles, waves and signs balls or cards with a smile on his face and a pep in his step; hiding the strain and tiredness that the 5th cup of coffee he just poured himself is trying to hide. His bank account gets the $7-850 deposit every two weeks and his bills slowly pile because there is no such thing as a paycheck in the offseason. All for a dream. A dream to get to where every ball player wants to be. Then one day you find yourself sitting on the couch, almost 6 years later, baseball-less. I always wondered what this day would feel like and I must say, it feels a lot like an unexpected breakup with a first love. After all, that’s basically what it is. The “my feelings have changed” emptiness of questions that you have at the moment you are no longer in a relationship take over. And like all of our first breakups, the first days are hard. Emotional. Aggravating. As each day passes, the numbness fades and things get better. That’s what the initial seconds of the “I’ve been released” moment feels like. Gut wrenching, sword in the stomach pain. That was almost 2 weeks ago. What I love about my husband is that he hasn’t crawled into a dark space and felt sorry for himself. He hasn’t even gotten so angry that he made irrationally destructive decisions. Nope. He takes it to the mound. He continues to work hard and train. We may be crazy, but we are Noah. I’m sure most people thought he was insane, literally, when he began constructing the ark. I mean who builds a boat for animals, when you’ve never even seen rain? I’ll tell you who. A man who heard His God speak. A man who listened. A man who prepared his field, no matter the cost. Last season, this same time, we were walking through a miscarriage. Now, we are anxiously waiting the birth of our precious Addelyn. No matter what comes, her tiny life will not be taken for granted because we know what it feels like to lose one. Now, a year later, we walk through a release. A death in some sense. We learned last year that the beauty of it is new life always comes next. We have no idea what tomorrow brings. We really don’t even know what the next minute brings. But the one thing we do know is that baseball is not over. And when he gets the opportunity he has worked so hard for, it will not be taken for granted. All that He requires of us is faith as tiny as a mustard seed. Even if what He has called you to do seems so incredibly out of reach, if you believe He can and will provide what you need to fulfill your calling, that He has given, He will give it. So just as the farmer prepared his field for rain, believing His God would bring it, we too prepare our field for the next step. We must always be ready for the opportunity to fulfill The Divine Calling to come. Because if we aren’t, it will never be as powerful as it was intended to be and we might even miss it. One day we will look back on this and see how all of those grungy nights on a bus or sleeping in a bed that most wouldn’t even sit on, the strain, the stress, the pay that seems like nothing and every second of the struggle, the preparation and the wait will all be worth it. Not because he made the show. No, because he obeyed the calling.

Brevity

Brevity

I used to write long, drawn out posts in which I consciously illustrated my life on this blog weekly and now brevity is my theme.  I promised I would fill you in as to why I have been MIA – and I do mean “missing in action.”  Aside from the fact that I am now a mother and my baby is pretty much my life moving forward, I have also had a lot of change taking place.

This year has been an interesting one for my family and while David continues to pursue the very unstable life of a baseball player, I have come to realize that our son needs more stability than the baseball life can give him right now.  That being said, David and I made the very hard decision to take a break from traveling together. Although it is extremely difficult and heartbreaking having my husband and his son living in two very distant places, it seemed the best decision for all of us.

Subsequently, I have decided to go back to work.  Many of you may already know that I have been a licensed realtor since 2006 and after being a stay at home wife and mommy – to furry babies and now Jethro – for over two years, the time has come for me to go back to work.  This decision, albeit not entirely easy, felt like the wisest investment of my time spent at home. I am starting to realize that even though being a mother is the most rewarding job on the planet, I need more than that to feel complete.  Since being home I have literally gone crazy decorating, adding flowers to my landscape and going slightly overboard on the number of bird feeders necessary to feed the bird population. Clearly, I could either keep spending money trying to keep myself busy, or I could put my extra energy into something more productive and less expensive, like selling real estate.  🙂

At first I wasn’t so sure how happy I would be going back to work but now I am very excited. I feel like this is the direction the universe wants me to go and so I have decided to go with the flow…

Crying baby! Time to go!

xoxo

Turning the Page

Turning the Page

It has been a solid seven months since I have written a post.  A lot has transpired in my life since then and I can honestly say that I feel the presence of God in my life more than ever.  Since I last checked in, David and I bought a house, David became a Cleveland Indian, – farewell NYY – we welcomed our beautiful baby boy into the world, and just yesterday, we celebrated another amazing year of marriage.

Now that I am the mama to my own offspring – not just four-legged furry babies – my life is consumed by poopy diapers, spit up and lack of sleep, all of which do not hold a candle to the love that I have for my little man. Believe it or not, what most people find “yucky”, I find truly gratifying. There’s nothing like seeing a nice poopy diaper and celebrating that your baby’s digestive system is working efficiently.  But enough about the favorite topic of new parents – poo – and onto what my goals are for this blog in 2014. I can’t promise that I will have the time to contribute to this blog the way I have in years past, but I will try to document my experiences as a mother while living the life of a baseball wife.

Moving forward I plan on sharing my favorite mommy products, taking into account how much we travel. As unconventional a lifestyle as we live, our son will also have to be raised in a rather unconventional way – we have learned to adapt and so will he.
Next up: Flying for the first time with a 3-month-old.

Three Cats and a Dog 2.0

Three Cats and a Dog 2.0

I remember being in a similar situation a year ago, prior to having spent a full baseball season with David and even before knowing what it would be like to travel with our furry babies. For many reasons, however, I stand today unsure of what to do about our four-legged children this coming season.  Last year proved traveling with our mini zoo to be much easier than I would have imagined, so why am I still on the fence? Ha – totally unintentional pun. 😉

One of our three cats, Julius.

One of our three cats, Julius.

Well, when we left to report for Spring Training last weekend, leaving the babies felt more like abandoning them than a temporary arrangement – despite the pet haven that is my parents’ house. Truthfully, I am not sure if this separation results in more anxiety for them or me.  Our babies seem happy as can be with my parents, yet I still feel like I am neglecting the parental responsibilities I owe my adopted family. I can’t truly say whether or not they are happier with their mommy and daddy, despite the living arrangements, or if a stable environment trumps the love they have for David and me. I just feel like six months is a long time to be apart from your pets – after all, it is more like 3.5 years from their perspective.

As of right now, David and I are very much leaning in the direction of taking our animals with us regardless of the obstacles that we may face with housing and traveling; we see it as a small price to pay for the unconditional love and companionship that they so selflessly provide us.  In the mean time, we are traveling back and forth between Tampa and Miami every weekend possible to spend some time with our children. Coming back home to them yesterday, after five whole days apart, made my heart smile. 🙂

Another year, another season

Another year, another season

I can’t even begin to tell you how fast the off-season came and went. In a week’s time, David and I will be moving to Tampa to report for Spring Training.
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Much to my relief, we were able to find a fully furnished apartment to lay down our roots for a whopping 2.5 months prior to the commencement of the regular season. I’m actually very excited just knowing that we will have a fully furnished home – to ourselves – for the entirety of Spring Training.

I feel strongly that this off-season has been a time of cleansing. Much has happened and even though we don’t have clear answers to all the whys, we know that the Almighty has a plan in mind. There is a sense of peace that has come over me and in a world where nothing is certain, that is all I can ask for. I have learned to trust in the Lord with all my heart, and lean not on my own understanding. In all my ways I acknowledge Him, and he will make straight my paths. Proverbs 3:5-6.

So with that in mind, David and I have few expectations for this season. We have set goals for ourselves but we know that whatever happens is for the best and for a greater purpose. We are handing over any worries to He who strengthens us, allowing God to be our refuge and our fortress. Psalms 91.

See you in Tampa!

God bless,
Camille

Honesty: the off-season blues

I’m going to level with you all. I was going to sit on this post given I’m a little more emotional than usual but I guess I’ve become rather fearless when it comes to putting myself out there. For me, honesty is the best policy and while I happen to love my life, it isn’t always peaches and cream. This blog is basically my innermost thoughts – no reservations – so here goes. I think we can all agree that life has its struggles. I also happen to believe that anything worth having is worth waiting for and, not to mention, fighting for. The old saying, “if it were easy, everyone would do it” is also relevant here. Any similar cliché you could think of, well, it fits.
Getting to my point, this baseball lifestyle is anything but easy. It’s good to remind yourself that the grass isn’t greener on the other side and while I wouldn’t change my life for anything, it surely isn’t without challenges. This past year was probably one of the most eye-opening for me. I learned invaluable lessons and with it, I grew as a woman and as a wife. I can also say with certainty that I have matured tenfold. And while I will only continue to grow and mature as years pass, there’s one thing I can’t deny, baseball makes you grow up – fast.

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Every time I meet someone new or I catch up with old friends, I am asked 21 questions about how my life has been. No matter how many times I have answered the same questions over and over, I can always bet that the questions will come, I will answer them, and still leave most perplexed. This is my life. It is daunting to most and it is absolutely draining for those who actually live it.
Sometimes I look at my beloved husband and I wonder how he does it. I have actually asked him whether playing baseball gets old right around game 100, or if the long and uncomfortable bus rides become unbearable half way through the season. When this question actually escaped me, his honest answer was no. He reminded me just how much he loves what he does and how he could easily play baseball every single day for years to come.
So then my mind circles back around to where that leaves me. It is really easy while living this lifestyle to lose your sense of self. I remind myself every day why I am here. The simple answer is, my husband. When I think I can no longer attend another baseball game this year or I’m drained from the hectic schedule, I seek consolation in the fact that this makes the man I married as happy as a child. I also remind myself that this Minor League lifestyle will only last so long. The big paycheck will come one day, and with it more security, although, probably not more stability.
This is the first off-season that I haven’t been employed and aside from my freelance work, my only job is to take care of my household. I was beyond ready for the 2012 season to come to an end right around the halfway point, but now that it’s here, I am stir-crazy. I think the hardest part about the off-season is the wait. There really is no job security in baseball and every fall we have to wait it out and see what job offer will come.
This is the harsh reality of baseball that the fans don’t really see. Imagine – everyone is anxiously waiting to see what unfolds with the 2013 New York Yankees, well now imagine you are part of the organization. Imagine wondering if the Yankees are going to include you on the 40-Man roster or if another team will pick you up. Will there be a trade that sends you cross-country or is this the end of the road? This is what it’s like as a baseball player and his wife/gf.
The uncertainty can drive anyone mad. All a baseball player can do in the off-season is work hard, get in shape and be ready to perform when the call is made. Sure, you have the A-rods of the world who have long-term deals, but that is the minority and it doesn’t come with any less pressure. When you sign on the dotted line and you receive a big contract, there are expectations you want to meet and, when possible, exceed.
It never really gets easier. I’m excited to head back to Arizona in a week, but I know what my routine will be: wake up, make breakfast for David, drop him off at the field, go back home, shower, get ready for the game, attend the game, wait for David to shower, do rehab and come out, head home, eat, go to sleep – then do it all over again. This is what day-to-day is like when I’m with David during baseball season. I’m not saying it’s a HARD life; please don’t misconstrue what I mean. This life has myriad blessings and we are ever grateful that God chose it for us, but it is emotionally draining.
OK, so I guess I’m just experiencing the off-season blues. Is that a thing? Truthfully, I think I just miss David. Although I’m not excited to get back on that big bulky metal contraption that defies gravity at 50,000 ft in the air, I’m beyond ready to get back out to Arizona and be with my man. After what felt like a million years of long distance angst, we are finally two hearts that are one, forever more, and I love it. I think David would say the same. I know he misses me and is eager for me to get back out there and be by his side. I may complain that attending a million baseball games a year gets old, but at the end of the day, I love it. I love my husband and I love baseball and ultimately, I love my life. So while this life doesn’t get any less exhausting or any more stable, it is part of who David and I are and the people we have become. I may need a full time nanny when I have babies, but if that’s as bad as it gets, I’ll take it any day of the week. 😉