Tag Archives: Family

Gary Carter and My Uncle George — *Updated: February 16, 2012*

Uncle George behind me umping while I do my best to be Gary Carter.

If you’re any kind of Mets, Expos, or baseball fan from the 80s it’s likely that you’ve heard about Gary Carter’s fight with brain tumors. Maybe you’ve heard about it even if you’re not any of the three types of people I just mentioned. Regardless, this news has struck me in a way I was not expecting.

Gary Carter was my hero. Like many young kids, I wanted to be a baseball player. As such, I needed an idol to emulate. Gary Carter was it for me. I made my mind up that I would be a catcher, with perhaps an occasional stint at first, just like Gary. I tried as best as I could to emulate is stance behind the plate; feet wide apart, mitt pulled in tight, free hand behind the right leg. I tried his hitting stance too, but this was too uncomfortable. He kept his elbows out too far for my liking, so I figured defensive imitation was enough. I watched him on TV and, occasionally, I got to see him live at Shea Stadium when my Uncle George would take me to see a game. These were great rimes for me. I got to watch my favorite player of all time (even today) and talk to my uncle that seemingly knew everything about the game of baseball, and whom I loved dearly. I can still remember those few times I was lucky enough to see my idol hit one out of the park and celebrate it with my uncle with high fives and hugs.

Of course, time changes everything. Gary got “old” and left the Mets and retired within a few years. I started to grow up and realize that idolizing a ballplayer didn’t make me any better as one. The times Uncle George and I got to go to the park together become few and far between for any number of reasons. In November of 2005, George lost his battle with cancer which devastated me and my family. In my mind, nothing has ever been the same. He was more than an uncle to me. He was like my second father. I know very well how lucky I was to have two great men to be role models for me (my father being the first, of course). That doesn’t make it any easier to be without him. Truthfully, it makes it harder. I have thought about him nearly every day since his passing, and the pain hasn’t gone away, though we have no choice but to endure.

When the news of Gary Carter’s tumors came out a few days ago, I was sad. Sad for my hero. Sad for the suffering of another human being. Sad for Gary’s family. But mostly, I was (am) enveloped in the sadness that I, and my family, have been enduring these past five and a half years. It came back almost renewed. It’s funny how your mind can intertwine things. Gary and George never met. They’ve never been closer than a few hundred feet from each other. But somewhere in my head, they’re closely related. They are both part of my happiest memories. They both have a place in my heart.

I am hoping that Gary can beat the odds. I hoping for him as much as I had hoped for Uncle George. I know it’s mostly selfish, but with Gary still around I still have a special link in my head with my uncle. I’ve been wishing Gary would get the Mets managerial job one day and I will continue to hope for it. Thank you for being a special part of my relationship with my uncle, even if you never knew it. Good luck, Gary!

Uncle George, I love you and miss you. Let’s Go Mets!

**Update: February 16, 2012**

At 5:15 pm today, I heard that Gary Carter had succumbed to his cancer.  Even though I knew this would likely be the outcome for Gary, I took the news with great shock and a profound sadness.

If nothing else, I am a man of logic.  I think that’s why I’m baffled by my reaction to this news.  I am utterly sad for the death of Gary, a man whom I have never met, a man whom was never closer than a few hundred feet to me, a man whom never knew I existed.  I know you’re asking “Did you cry?”  And I will plainly say, “Oh yeah.”  Of course, I can play armchair psychologist and delve into my psyche, but I’m not going to do that.  I am just going to say that I am almost as sad as if a friend of mine had died.  Illogical? Probably.  But he was my hero.  I wanted to be like him.  And the more I hear about him, I couldn’t have picked a better man to idolize.

Two of my heroes are gone and I hope they’ll be meeting each other and hanging out together soon.

Family Problems

It’s been a while since I’ve posted anything, so let my apology fall into the ether that is the internet.  I finally have some time, but I think mostly I’m posting because I need some kind of therapeutic action.  Over the past few days, I’ve had to put up with one of the most trying, awkward, no-getting-better situations I’ve ever had to deal with in my life.  Sadly, it deals with the two most important women in my life.  I won’t be going into specifics.  But here is my observation:  my mom is a little crazy.

From my perspective, this is just a giant, giant, giant misunderstanding.  Basically, my mom, the person who’s been my support for my entire life, feels slighted by the actions, or lack there  of, of my wife, the woman who has for the past eight years been nothing but caring, sweet, and just as supportive to me.  My mother is a very strong woman with very, very strong feelings.  I’ve fought many battles with her when she has perceived my actions as wrong or hurtful.  She is the type of woman who won’t accept apologies and doesn’t care what outside (non-blood) relationships get burned.  I, being as strong-willed, and a blood relative, have been able to withstand or at least deal with these “confrontations” that pop up.  This is different.  Her issue is not with me, it’s with my wife.  Uncomfortable to begin with, but more so when you factor in my wife’s traits.  Simply put, if there was one person in the world that had to be chosen to embody selflessness, humility, and a general all around let’s-all-get-along attitude, my wife would be that person.  This by no means excludes her of all wrongdoing.  She has her part in the matter, but more out of carelessness as opposed to vindictiveness.

So like I was saying, the traits of my wife almost automatically put her into a category of the submissive.  She doesn’t know, nor has she ever had to deal with, the kind of fiery personality that is my mother.  She did her best to apologize, but as stated earlier, my mother is not usually open to apologies.  So I don’t know what to do.  I can’t get through to my mom.  She brings up some very strange points to support why she is so mad.  I can’t understand it all.  I actually do get the initial feeling of being slighted.  I see it.  What I don’t see is the amount of anger and lack of understanding that follows it all.  What the hell am I supposed to do?  We have a baby coming in two months.  What is this going to do to that relationship with her granddaughter?  Will she not care as much?  I want my family to be an integral part of the life of my children, but I also don’t want them to be “second class citizens” to my family either.

I really don’t feel good about this.  My wife has some part in this.  Unfortunately, there is nothing that can be changed now.  It all rests in the heart and mind of my mother; who, to be fair, is one of the most loving people I know.  I know in this post seem could easily be seen as a monster, but trust me she’s not.  If I was to play arm chair psychologist, I might say that she is just acting out against that woman that stole her baby boy away from her.  We were always very close, and I’m afraid this will change that.  I don’t know what to do.  I want to just go to sleep and hide for a few months until my daughter gets here.  She’ll make it better.