We had THE BEST weekend! It just so happened to be Mother’s Day, too. A what a good reminder it was for me as a Mom, to live in the present, love the simplest of things and celebrate my precious little family.
First, a little housekeeping. I know I’ve been slacking lately with my updates. And I’m half sorry. I’m sorry because I know for many of you, this is the only update you get on my girl. For that, I do feel badly when I go several weeks without a post. It isn’t for lack of material. The Hinton Fam sure is busy these days. But that’s also why I only feel half bad. Ya’ll it’s exhausting to have three little ones, a life to keep together and try and share the inner workings of my brain along with all things Elena with you. Most days, by the time I have a moment to sit, my brain goes mush and any inspiration is fleeting. So as always, just bear with me. I am trying!
Ok, whew… guilty conscience gone! Now onto the good stuff!
About a month ago, a friendly staff member from the Ronald McDonald House shot me an email asking if we would be interested in attending an upcoming Indianapolis Indians (our hometown AAA baseball team) game. It happened to be Superhero Night and a fundraiser for the Ronald McDonald House of Indiana (a cause near and dear to us). Then, she casually asked if we would agree to have Elena throw out the first pitch! Ummm, yeah! All week, I teared up every time I thought of the idea of Elena being cheered on to throw a ball, something she loves to do at home with her brothers. I was fairly certain I’d been a sobbing mess out there on the field. Somehow I mostly managed to keep it together.
The whole experience was magic. Elena was SO excited. I was a little unsure of how she would react with all the loud noises (announcer, cheering, etc.) and unfamiliar voices, but she totally loved being a VIP. She kept her cool the whole time, smiling for everyone that came to say hello and was totally unfazed by the sights and sounds. As it was Superhero night, we were introduced to Superman and Wonder Woman, whom she casually shook hands with like they were old friends, hilarious! The boys were mesmerized by the field and the “baseball guys” as Calvin called them. They wore their capes that the Indians gave them and were excited to cheer on their Sissy.
As we headed out to the field for the big pitch, they began playing the RMH video we filmed several years ago. Chad and I pretty much did everything we could to not watch or listen to it as it played on the Jumbotron. I kept my eyes on Superman (and his muscles), ha! I knew I would be an emotional wreck if I caught glimpse of any teary eyes in the stands or focused on anything other than making sure Elena threw out her best pitch. After it ended, they announced us to a roar of applause (a little exaggeration here, ha!). I helped her wind up the pitch as she threw a fastball (ha, jk) to the catcher. My cousin was able to catch the perfect picture (see below) of her smile, which reflected the pure joy on her face. Elena loved every second of it. I was so proud of her. It was a memory that I will cherish forever.
We were able to share that moment, not only with the thousands of people who were at the game that night, but with Elena’s own cheering section of over 70 people who came just to watch her. I’m not sure which part she liked more, throwing out the pitch or the 70 of you who came up to talk to her about it and tell her awesome she did afterwards. I’m so happy to know that we were able to share that moment with each of you who were there, but also so touched by how proud YOU were to see my girl do this. It was incredible meaningful to have all her biggest fans there.
You guys, our family is so stinking blessed. We are constantly surrounded by people who wholeheartedly love our girl, root her on, lift her up all the time. Our church, our community, our school, our family, our friends, all of you play an integral part of her story. There is so much goodness in that. I have been reminded over and over lately that yes, our story is one of heartache and grief and tragedy, but also one of redemption, beauty, mercy and love. To me, the heartache continues to shrink as I’m able to step back, look around and see all that God has done in our lives over the last six and a half years. I get to grieve every memory and yet, leap for joy with the slightest of victories, all the while my most precious girl grins her little heart out, shining that light, a reflection of God’s love and goodness out for everyone to see. And so with a pitch, my Elena grows my heart a thousand times and continues to shine her light and her big-toothed grin for the world to marvel.
The biggest of thanks to the Indianapolis Indians staff and players who couldn’t have been kinder or more accommodating to us and our 70 person fan cheering section. We seriously had the best time and can’t wait to head back for another game this season. Cute side-story here: Chad was taking Calvin to the bathroom before we headed out on the field. The bathroom where we were happened to be next to the opposing team’s locker room and Calvin’s head about exploded when he saw the real “baseball guys” hanging around. Chad said as they were walking back out to meet us, there was a group of players praying before the game and Calvin said, “Dad, look! They’re saying their prayers!” Yesterday, we heard Cal in the other room playing, doing his usual starting line-ups (we watched a lot of basketball games this winter and he likes to go to his ‘locker room’ and do pretend starting line-ups) but we heard him saying his school lunch prayer prior to his announcer voice and about died of cuteness! Clearly, he soaked up the entire experience!
And of course, our friends at the Ronald McDonald House who work so hard every day for families like ours, who find themselves unexpectedly at its doors. We love them all and we love this cause. THANK YOU!
This is the best video and pictures I’ve received so far, but hopefully will get some official ones here soon. Enjoy!
Elena’s big smile post-pitch