Happy birthday, Hayden
I missed a phone call from my daughter-in-law, Christi, last Friday night. Or at least I thought it was Christi who had called.
When I called back, my oldest grandson, Hayden, answered.
“Thanks for the new bat, Pops,” he said.
“You’re welcome,” I responded, happy to hear that the Amazon elves had delivered the 29-inch, 19-ounce Easton-model instrument of baseball destruction on time.
Hayden needed a new bat because the one he’d been using — a Louisville Slugger that I bought for my son Ronnie more than 20 years ago — didn’t have a USA Baseball sticker and thus was not allowed in Hayden’s league this season.
I always thought it was cool that Hayden was using Ronnie’s old bat, and he did, too. He was disappointed that it’s now been relegated to batting practice and the back yard.
But I was happy to be able to help and hopefully put a smile on Hayden’s face.
I first met Hayden about five years ago, not too long after Ronnie and Christi started dating. I could tell right away that he was a smart little guy, and very handsome with his blonde curls. He also has a mischievous streak — once at a baseball game, Ronnie and Christi asked my younger son, Ryan, to accompany Hayden to the concession stand. When they got there, Hayden looked at Ryan and yelled: “Stop following me!” Fortunately, no one got arrested.
Fast-forward a few years, and Hayden is almost 10 now. He’s a tall, thin young man and still very handsome. He enjoys the things most 10-year-olds do: sports, skating, video games. He especially enjoys beating Pops in NBA2K. He’s incredibly smart and perceptive.
He’s also a wonderful big brother to 3-year-old Liam. Between the two of them, they have an awful lot of energy. I get tired just watching them, but it makes me smile.
I had to make an emergency trip to North Little Rock not long ago and wound up babysitting the boys overnight. It’s been a while since I’ve had to take care of a toddler, but Hayden was a huge help. He made sure I had everything I needed and we had a good time.
On the wall in my living room I have several pictures of my family. One of them is a blonde, curly-haired little guy sitting in the stands at a basketball game. That picture was taken the first time I met my grandson, and it’s one of my favorites.
He’ll be 10 years old on April 28. I can’t believe how quickly the time has passed. I’m so glad I get to be his Pops.
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Scott Loftis is managing editor for Carroll County Newspapers. His email address is CarrollCountyNews@cox-internet.com.