This child, my first-born, eleven years old, lover of sports, speaker of a million words, maker of random noises, is going to be the death of me. I adore him. He is a good boy. He is smart. He has fantastic manners. He is kind-hearted. He is goofy and makes me laugh. He is also competitive. I won't say where that came from. It certainly wasn't from his mother. (Ahem.) Yesterday, we were out in my mom and dad's backyard, playing catch. Now, I'll be honest with you: until a couple of years ago, playing catch was not exactly fun. It consisted of me tossing the ball to KJ and praying that it didn't hit him in the face. And then he would chase it down then throw it back to (nowhere near) me. Lather, rinse, repeat. As he has gotten older, catch has actually become fun. We are able to both throw the ball and catch it. It's a miracle. This year, KJ is playing travel ball for the first time. So, we've ramped up the competitiveness just a bit. Let's go back to the bakyard, where mother and son are enjoying a nice game of catch. I finally feel confident enough in KJ's ability to catch the ball that I don't need to throw nicely with him. So, after we warmed up, I started throwing a little harder. I let loose with one and his eyes got all big and he said, "Mom, I didn't know you could throw the ball hard." What's a mom to do? I started throwing a little harder yet and he kept making these faces at me like he was absolutely amazed. I'll admit, it made me smile. I love the fact that my throwing ability impressed an 11-year-old boy. What more can a mom ask for than to amaze her kids? We kept throwing and it didn't take long for me to get a little wild. KJ thought I was doing it on purpose: throwing risers and curveballs. He kept asking me how I did it. I don't have a clue. I just grab the ball and throw and it does wacky stuff (just ask my sister, who played first base to my shortstop for several years.) But I kept throwing because I was impressing my kid. And that made me happy. And I woke up this morning with a seriously stiff shoulder. All in the name of winning the adulation of my eleven-year-old son. Yes, it was worth it.