Around 7:45, sometime in the bottom of the 6th inning, after hot dogs and M&M's and talk about strikes and outs and runs, he says, "I'm tired, Mama." He climbs into my lap and lays his head against my chest, content to take in the game's sights and sounds from the comfort of my heart. He is first a child and then an observer of the world. For now, baseball is secondary to Mommy.
He alternates between snuggling, yielding to his five-year-old circadian rhythms that typically have him deep in dreamland by this time, and looking up and around when the crowd cheers or when the zealous fans around us coach the batters at maximum volume.
I soak in his closeness. Josh and I exchange smiles. We are parents: proud, in-love with our family.
Later, he reaches for Josh to hold him during the seventh-inning stretch. Perched in Daddy's arms, he can see everything. When the masses begin to sing, his eyes twinkle, and he sings along: "Take me out to the ballgame...". He forgets a few words, but this momentary lapse is okay--it gives him time to smile, to grin wildly at the joy of it, to feel the way he belongs to this world because he knows the song, can participate in the tradition with the grown people. Until the fireworks, this brief musical interlude is his favorite part of the night.
I've never had a better time at a ballgame.