"Uh-Oh, Mom will never come home now," Sarah texted Daniel after he'd sent her a picture of me giddy with joy checking out our Sun Trust Club Seats right behind home plate at Turner Field, walled off from other fans, with private doors to a private upscale restaurant, waiters hovering about our seats, private restrooms so pretty I wanted to snap a photo, and remarkable access to the players.
A private entrance and valet parking. Oh my goodness. I felt like a movie star, gliding down the entrance stairs, grinning like a banshee fool.
That's the dugout right behind me. I could only wish Bobby Cox was still in it.
"Want to meet Phil Niekro?" our super handsome Venezuelan waiter asked Daniel and I. "He's in the lounge right now."
I used to watch him play for Atlanta in the early 80s. My then longtime boyfriend, Big Doug, was a huge fan. Thank God I didn't marry him though. My choices all brought me to where I am now.
"I feel like I'm too young to have reached this pinnacle," Daniel told me right here in the month before his 27th birthday. But hey, what guy deserves this opportunity more than him?
"Daniel's my hero for showing everyone how Mom should be treated," Marcela texted, other kids texting me, telling me they'd seen me on TV, because that's where the camera pans from the on deck circle to home plate, we were inches away from each at bat appearance. "Don't act up," several of my kids suggested.
Someone with any less restraint than I could've reached out to pinch the butts of each player.
The Braves ended up losing, but that didn't dampen my experience at all. Daniel called it right when Uggla went to bat. "He jumps on the first pitch," Daniel correctly predicted and the critical part of the game was lost right then, after Heyward's triple. Chipper Jones didn't play, resting because he's 40 now, and with him out of the lineup it seems as if the other players sag and drag.
My originally 50 cent yard sale too-big on me Chipper Jones t-shirt now priceless as both Phil Niekro and Terry Pendleton signed it. "You want me to sign a Chipper shirt?" he asked me. Dude, you haven't played since '98, I didn't say. He's a Braves coach now and still one of my all time favorite players, the 90s were heady Braves times.
"I want my son in the picture," I told him, as Daniel tossed his phone to some random guy at the bar.
"Oh, I thought you were brother and sister, "Phil Niekro cracked, spoken like the 74 year old guy he is.
My phone had died but since we were in the hoity toity world, the Venezuelan charged it for me. Seriously.
"Think we've died and gone to Heaven?" I asked Daniel, who was grinning as happily as me.
"Nah, Grandpa's not here."
But the Bible tells us Heaven is beyond what out finite minds can even imagine. I know there's gotta be Sun Trust Club Seats and Braves baseball up there.
I was texting my favorite brother-in-law excitedly, knowing his high opinion of Phil Niekro. Kevin had once gotten us seats about ten rows back from where I was sitting yesterday, back when Javy Lopez was the catcher, and I have super dooper wonderful memories of that day as well. I can pick out every seat I've sat in there since the park opened in the spring of 1996, I've been there a whole bunch of times.
Kevin, Daniel and I have sat all over that park, the most exciting place in the world for me. I always look east of the stadium knowing my parents had the good sense to have birthed me within just a few miles of Turner Field. The Atlanta Fulton County Stadium wasn't even in existence back then in 1954 when I was born at Emory University Hospital where I'd later earn a Master's Degree.
Juan Francisco, whose 11th inning walk off hit won the game Friday night blew me a kiss and signed my program. He favors my son, Big Joe, same jut to the chin, kinda the same cocky attitude.
Oh my, we were in the one percent for the day.
I was pretty quiet overall, not yelling like I usually do at the TV, maybe afraid the umps would toss me, since they could clearly hear me just feet away. A hilarious man behind me was yelling some choice Spanish phrases though and I was shocked at the number of Dodgers fans that were there. Best team in the NL West.
Yolie later remarked, "All your smiles? Not the usual wary, scared smile, but real ones." Megan told me later that every single time the camera caught me I was grinning. I wasn't scared to be happy for once, my trauma slowly lessening. Can y'all imagine me in just a few more years when I can go down to Orlando for Spring Training games? Oh my goodness.
I also can't wait until Daniel has children. His apartment was lovely, gated and understated elegance. He's the man, lemme tell ya. I'm so happy for him and Megan, two stellar people who so deserve each other.
We ate in the restaurant quickly because I didn't want to miss a minute of being that close to batting practice. I had a delicious tortellini with exquisite herbs infused throughout.
Our waiter brought us fresh hot dough pretzels with Dijon mustard, (not those crappy Mall kinds) and bottles of water since I don't drink the free alcoholic beverages that were also available, ice cream treats and whatever we wanted, all included in the Sun Trust Seat Tickets.
I felt like an impostor, like I ought to grab a broom, sweep and earn my keep. Moms don't get waited on, that's our job.
Y'all there are folks that live like this all the time. Unreal.
Daniel's almost father-in-law Mahlon gave us the tickets through his work. He could've used them himself, but oh what a blessing for us two dweebs to spend the day so happily. We didn't even try to act cool, it just wasn't possible to contain our happiness.
20 plus years of mother and son baseball camaraderie.
I don't even have words to express my joy.
Yolie and Grandma manned the fort here at home, Sarah drove Sabrina to and from work, as well as to a mandatory parent cheerleader meeting that I obviously missed. My kids behaved perfectly and didn't make me pay for it upon my re-entry.
I could hardly sleep last night, or the night before in anticipation.
Thank you Lord for blessing my son.
Mae asked Yolie in absolute surprise, "Why would Bita wanna leave her house?" Mae knows I'm always at home, then I was on our living room TV screen. How very, very odd.