take me back to the ball game?

In a matter of seconds, I went from a Chicago-living 27-year-old to my former 12-year old  self by simply seeing a “Frozen Lemonade” sign in the window this morning.  Before I knew it I was lost in memories of those summer days spent at my brother’s baseball tournaments and all those Aunt Thelma’s Old-Fashioned Lemonades that helped me beat the heat.  Besides supporting my brother, I soon found myself noticing those cute boys in ball caps more and more.  Boys: Our sweetest downfall.  

Those days were fifteen years ago, yet I still remember how innocent things used to be.  Actually, if my memory serves me correctly, that was one of the last summers- if not the last summer– of innocence for me.  Shortly after that summer I had my first ‘real’ boyfriend and first kiss- soon to be followed by another boyfriend and another round of kisses.  But as sweet as those days proved, the Terrible Thirteens also introduced the terms Frenemies, Pettiness, and Jealousy.  Yep, the Age of Innocence was definitely over for me!

As I walked in my office and reality set in, I couldn’t shake this thought: Am I really that same girl?  And if so, how did that teenager eventually become…well…me?

I’m heading home (Pittsburgh, PA) this weekend for some time with my family.  To be honest, right now I’m hoping that those four days can be filled with some innocent fun and family therapy.  And maybe, just maybe, I am hoping to connect with my former self a little bit more.  Having only lived in Pittsburgh for a year and a handful of summers since college, I feel very disconnected to the girl who once only knew the world inside the Hampton Bubble.  So much has changed since then.  I’ve changed so much since then. 

For instance, I associate more with being an Ohio girl than being born & raised in Pittsburgh.  Not to mention, those crushes on baseball players are certainly a thing of the past as I’ve been categorized  as having a ‘soccer player type’ for at least the last 8 years.  Still, the memories catch me off guard every now and then to remind me where I came from.

Even as an innocent and happy pre-teen, had dreams about leaving everything I knew and adventuring off to the unknown world.  I was always fascinated by the big city lights and meeting new people.  Quite simply, I guess I always felt like there was more out there for me.  I always knew the day would come when I’d  say ‘goodbye’ and try to find a new place to call home. 

But sometimes I wonder what it would be like if I didn’t have that itch; or if I didn’t have the courage to pursue those dreams.  Or what if I would have fallen madly in love with one of those boys in ball caps from my hometown?  What if I never had the opportunity to crush on those soccer boys?  Would I have kept my innocence?  And more importantly, would I have been happy? 

Sometimes I find myself a little lost in this big city and get to wondering if there’s somewhere else I’d be more fitted for.  Truth be told, I don’t think it’s Pittsburgh.  (I really don’t.)  But I really do value my past and truly believe that it provided me the challenges that I needed to face.  I’d love to have an innocent heart again, but then again I don’t know if I would really change it for everything I’ve been able to experience thus far.  Nor would I give up those irresistible soccer players that seem to always find a way into my life.  Do you hear that, Mr. Beckham?

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