“So, Tricia, do you love baseball?”
People ask me this question often, and I have a standard true answer:
“I love Peter, and I like to be where he is.”
Given a free evening and some extra cash, he’s usually at the baseball diamond.
So, if you’re in Chicago and you love baseball, you should make your way to Wrigley Field. That’s what I’ve heard, anyway. From reliable sources, I might add.
Peter had often been to Chicago, but he had never been to Wrigley. I had an opportunity to score some serious wife points during our week of recording. We had Wednesday evening free from all obligations and invitations, and the stadium called our names.
I would push through the hard work of revisiting the hardest stories in my own words, seeing them on my own pages, and now hearing them in my own voice. I have a Game Face, and I can put on the mask as needed when it’s time to do the Hard Things.
“She’s on a roll,” they said in the studio.
“She’s really cranking the chapters out,” they said.
And they were right. I had momentum, and I was going to capitalize on it.
Make hay while the sun shines.
Tell stories while the mind works.
But the wheels kind of came off my wagon on Wednesday afternoon.
I hit The Wall.
I visibly faded at the lunch table, wilting so deeply into myself that our beloved production manager said, “You know what? Let’s call it a day. You two have game tickets tonight, so why don’t you take a few hours off? Head back to the hotel, rest for a bit, and then you’ll be refreshed to go downtown.”
I’m a people pleaser. I aim for excellence. I’ll push past the expectations if it means you’ll give me a gold star. There’s a solid piece of me that forever wants to be the teacher’s favorite. So I won’t ask for a break… but if you’re offering one? I mean… okay.
I’ll rest for an hour. Then we’ll take train downtown and to those Chicago Cubs.
The tremors began in the car. My hands started shaking the way they used to years ago, when I had pushed myself to do something hard. Back then it was something small, like walk to the mailbox, or go to the grocery store, or finish a therapy session. It takes a lot to trigger those wires, but in my defense, I had done a lot.
By the time we got to our hotel room, I was a quaking, shaking mess. I know by now that there’s no reversing a panic attack. Once the tidal wave unleashes, one can only ride it through the storm.
Peter put me to bed. He stayed with me until I fell into a hard sleep.
When I woke up, the red numbers on the clock said 6:15.
What?? Six Fifteen? I overslept?! We were supposed to leave three hours ago!
The studio had given us a suite in the hotel, and I burst from the bedroom part and into the living room part where Peter was. (Burst might be the wrong word. It may have been more like a Stumble.)
He turned to me and smiled, “There she is,” he said.
“Peter! The game! We have to go!”
“We’re not going, babe.”
“We are going. We have tickets.”
“I sold them,” he said.
I heard the words. I didn’t understand the words. I’m pretty sure my face showed it.
“Babe, the last thing you need is a night traipsing around a baseball stadium, following me around. You need the night off. I sold the tickets.”
Guilt. Immediate. I’m pretty sure my face showed it.
“Come here,” he said, patting the space beside him on the couch.
I sat down. “But it’s the Cubs.”
He pulled me closer. “And you’re my wife. I knew what you needed.”
He opened the hotel catalog to a page filled with menus.
“How about some room service tonight? You hungry?”
You guys, I didn’t know there would be a test. But he passed.
He loves me more than baseball.