I was determined not to forget that night.

Climbing up to the top row of the bleachers, I moved away from anyone who might disturb my peace, and I began using all my senses to make a lasting imprint on my brain. It was the perfect evening for baseball. Warm, but just cool enough to cozy up in a sweatshirt. The breeze washed over my summer-worn painted toes, and I could feel my heart rate begin to rise. Nervous about the upcoming competition, but even more uneasy about the end of a season.

The sun would set before the game ended, and there is nothing better than a game under the lights. Beyond the leftfield fence, I could see and faintly hear a lawnmower. Next to him was smoke rising from a grill. Grilling, mowing, and baseball. What sums up summer more than that?

Under the bleachers, the happy little feet of the siblings dragged to another baseball game were scuffling against the pavement. Inevitably, sweet shouting quickly turned sour with a scraped knee and yelp for a mother. People were busy chatting, laughing, and commenting on the cotton that had covered the field that day. The team had wrapped up the pre-game huddle with a loud, “GO ELKS!” It was a perfect evening.

When our team took the field, my oldest took the mound. My other son took his position behind home plate. It was possible that it would be the last time I would see one pitch to the other in a game on the same team.

   I have lost many moments because I wasn’t present.

Stopping to smell the roses hasn’t always been my thing, but I am trying to get better at it. I have to make a conscious effort to live in the present. Aging has shown me how precious simple moments are. As soon as I recognize one, I engage all my senses. I notice what I see, hear, feel, smell, and even taste.

We calculated once how many games our boys had over the years. It was over 1000. Of course, we couldn’t get to each one, but we got to most of them. Some of them are easier to remember than others, but that night, under the lights with a cotton covering, is one of my most vivid memories. Nothing spectacular happened, I don’t even remember if we won, but it’s tucked away in my heart to pull out any time I want.