It’s May 8, the day before Mother’s Day, and it’s snowing sideways. Because it’s 2020 and it’s just that kind of year.

In a few days, the fresh buds on trees will begin to bloom into fresh leaves. Today, these would-be leaves slump as if they have shoulders to sag, resigned to having a bad day.

“There’s a coating on the magnolia tree,” my mom, Diane Lazarczyk said when I called Saturday morning. I knew she was looking out her living room window at the magnolia tree in my parents’ front yard. A week ago, the tree began blooming, a sign of spring. “It doesn’t seem like spring or summer or anything. I don’t know what it seems like.”

Since the Covid-19 crisis began in March, it seems we’ve had one March day after another. One day it’s sunny and warm. The next, Mother Nature spits snow in your face.

Mother’s Day weekend is normally an unofficial milepost that we made it through another winter We celebrate mothers as the world really starts to stir back to life.

Yeah, 2020. Normal doesn’t apply.

If the weather was more suited to baseball than late-season football, and if the season were underway, the Boston Red Sox would be in New York to play the Yankees this weekend. Mom would no doubt have the game on, paying enough attention to know what’s going on, but using as familiar background noise while she read something online or played her hand-held poker game.

“I have noticed it’s not there every night,” Mom said.

To Mom, and others in the Baby Boomer generation I’m sure, the absence of baseball on television practically each night is a reminder of the past, when watching a ballgame wasn’t something anybody took for granted. Where she grew up in Bennington, Vermont, listening to the Red Sox game on the radio wasn’t always an option, either.

“Growing up, we didn’t have (the Red Sox) on the TV for years,” Mom said. “In Bennington the radio station went off at dark, so you had to go on the porch and stand on your head to get a signal.”

Like many fans of sports, Mom was casual about her viewing habits before the coronavirus shut it all down. If the Patriots were on, she’d watch. The same with the Bruins or Celtics or a college basketball game somebody else in the house may be watching. The other day, she watched a few minutes of a Korean baseball game on one of the ESPN channels. With no rooting interest, no background with either of the teams or any of the players, it was just filler.

Mom misses baseball, but doesn’t need it to rush back, either. Mothers everywhere are a symbol of support and hope. My mom hopes baseball comes back, but there’s no need to be stupid about it either.

“If it’s safe, play,” she said. “I’m not going, I know that.”

Programming that would have been recorded for future viewing, for watching after the game, is now watched in real time. Some fans, the ones who hang on every pitch, they feel the pangs. For some, that void is real.

For most of us, though, we’ve settled into this new normal. We hear talk of games maybe starting this summer, but the tug of anticipation isn’t there. It’s under a fresh coating of May snow. Instead of lamenting the lack of games, we remember when the ability to watch any ballgame you wanted wasn’t literally at your fingertips.

I think I’m like my mom in this regard. I miss baseball, and watching the Red Sox, in a way I miss a favorite show that’s no longer on. Reruns sustain like empty calories until the real thing returns, but the longer the real thing is gone, the less it pulls.

That feeling feels like hope fading, and that’s more unsettling than not having a fresh batch of box scores to peruse each morning.

 

Travis Lazarczyk — 861-9242

[email protected]

Twitter: @TLazarczykMTM

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