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A Return to the Court

Back in February I had a birthday, and, thanks to COVID, my son was unable to spend it with me. However, he told me my gift was that he would hit some tennis balls with me next time we were together.

Fast-forward a few months. My son moved out of the California Bay Area and into our house in SoCal while he awaits the opportunity to spend a year living abroad. He brought with him a brand new, unstrung, Wilson Blade, a remnant from his College Tennis years, and asked if I would take it to the stringer where I play. “Sure!” I said, trying not to sound too eager or excited at the prospect of him returning to the court.

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A few weeks went by. The racquet was strung. And I was [not so patiently] waiting. But, I didn’t ask. I didn’t mention anything about playing together. I just waited.

Then, it happened.

I am currently part of a singles challenge ladder and had a match on a Sunday morning. My husband and son said they’d like to come watch me play. Next came the words I’d been waiting to hear: “And maybe we can hit a few balls after your match, Mom.”

Do you remember the first time you were on the court with your child? Do you remember how you felt watching them move and strike the ball and make it all seem so effortless? Do you remember the first time they beat you?

All of that came back to me as I stood on the other side of the net from my son.

His movement may not be as fluid as it once was, but that backhand is still a thing of beauty! The topspin he puts on his forehand is like nothing I feel from any other opponent. His ability to rip a winner into the open court blows my mind.

I tried not to make a “thing” out of him being back on the tennis court. I didn’t post any pictures or Tweet about it, and for those of you who have been following me a while, you know that is a big deal! We didn’t really talk about it at all after that morning other than him mentioning in passing the next day that he was a bit sore. I figure I need to give him space when it comes to tennis. He needs to find his own way to have tennis in his life . . .  or not.

We’ve hit together one other time since that Sunday morning. This time I was the one who brought it up and asked him if he’d like to go hit. When he said yes, once again I tried not to show my excitement, but my son knows me too well. I know he knows how happy it makes me to be out there with him.

On our second outing, he seemed to be finding his game.

Yes, there are still some shanked balls. And his timing is a bit rusty. But none of that matters. Because my son is on the other side of the net, smiling, and hitting tennis balls with me.

 

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