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Eight stories on a 10-2 Mother’s Day loss to the Rangers

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Mariners lose, 10-2, on a day that means a lot of different things to a lot of different people

Seattle Mariners v Texas Rangers Photo by Ron Jenkins/Getty Images

Editor’s note: if you’d like a straight recap of a 10-2 loss to the Rangers, look elsewhere. For everyone else—for all the mothers, the mother figures, those who choose not to be mothers, those who dearly wish to be, those who have found mothers other places, those with strained relationships with their mothers, those who don’t know their mothers, those who have lost their mothers, and all the shades that exist outside of pink—this is for you.

The baby had a diaper blowout on their way out the door, and by the time they finally left, the clouds threatened rain. Halfway there they discovered that Margot was not, in fact wearing her tennis shoes, but instead her plastic Queen Elsa high heels, but at that point, all there was to do was laugh. They turned on the Mariners game in the car, too late for the first inning (not that the Mariners would have scored anyway), but in time to hear Justus Sheffield escape a two-on, one-out jam with a well-timed double play. Jeremy cheered in the backseat and the baby let loose a celebratory fart. Later it was discovered someone had forgotten to put ice in the cooler, and the sandwiches were room-temperature, and they sat in the grass and drank room-temperature cola, her perfectly imperfect family. She flipped off the radio after because Margot insisted on singing “Let It Go” as her Mother’s Day present, and they never did remember to turn it back on.

*

The restaurant was slammed and the tips were crap, but it was still more money than she’d seen in months. One of the regulars—the man who came alone early on Sundays and took five creams in his coffee—asked her to turn on the Mariners game and she obliged, smiling, noting that in the time it took her to refill a round of coffee, the Mariners batters had already been set down swinging. “I don’t know why I asked you to turn this on,” said the man who’d asked, groaning, and she patted his shoulder comfortingly, forgetting, for a second, that they didn’t do that anymore, that that was a before-times thing to do. “Hey, at least the other team didn’t score,” she pointed out the next time she came by with a round of coffee and a dish full of creamers. “Small comforts,” he agreed, pressing his hand to his shoulder, as if he could find the memory of her hand there.

*

None of their friends were baseball fans, but no one called it “sportsball” or acted like it was a stupid waste of time, and for that Em was grateful. Everyone got to have their own thing, and baseball was Em’s, and their friends asked politely interested questions even while they were all playing a game and Em was missing their turn while watching two straight Rangers batters reach on back-to-back errors. Kindly, none of their friends said “is that bad?” as Em dropped their head on the table and began pounding it there, softly at first, then more intently as Isiah Kiner-Falefa scored the first run of the game on an Adolis García single. Rachel just reached out with one hand to pat Em gently on the head, and with the other, refilled Em’s glass, while Jes quietly set back up the pieces of the board game Em’s pounding had knocked over. Wordlessly, they played on.

*

She’d been playing these little games with herself. It was stupid, and unhealthy, and she would never, ever tell anyone about it, especially not her dear, sweet, trying-so-hard-to- understand husband. But she couldn’t stop looking for signs: searching for birds in the trees outside, looking for a break in the clouds, flipping on the radio to see if she could catch a favorite song, any sign the test would be positive. Magical thinking, Devon would call it. But she couldn’t help it. The whole process was mystical and mysterious-feeling, and she needed to speak its language. If the Mariners score this inning, she thought to herself, as a joke. But then Kyle Seager got on base with a walk, and Dylan Moore singled, all with only one out. Hope leapt into her chest before she could stop it, the old familiar what-if feeling. Just that quickly, though, Jose Marmolejos struck out on four pitches. She turned off the TV before she could see the end of Tom Murphy’s at-bat. She’d seen this enough times before. At the same time, she knew she’d do this again.

*

The therapist had encouraged him to envision his grief as a ball that would shrink over time, lighting up less of the pain centers in his chest, but even a year-plus later it still hurt in new and unexpected ways, like when Marta roasted a chicken one night and it reminded him of the chickens his mother roasted every Sunday during his childhood, the smell a physical presence in the house pinning him to his bed. He felt like he was in an endless land war with the color pink, and flipping on the Mariners game on Sunday and seeing it splashed across the field like thrown paint felt like another piece of something taken away from him. Marta stared at him, eyes wide; she’d forgotten that MLB did this, they’d both forgotten because of the abbreviated season last year. He willed his face to remain neutral, willed Evan White—a player his mother had never seen play for her beloved Mariners, and yet somehow in his second year—to go away quickly and quietly in the top of the fifth. Evan White instead hung in the box long enough to work a walk, and he felt a grudging kinship with White, who had just suffered a loss of his own, after all. J.P. Crawford singled, delighting his wife, who liked Crawford’s slick fielding and facial expressions, bringing Mitch Haniger to the plate. Haniger knocked a single to give the Mariners their first run and tie the game, and he thought of how happy his mom would be to see that, the unselfish joy she would feel to see him back healthy, how she would coo “Miiiiiiitch.” A smile cracked across his face, even wider when Kyle Seager singled to give the Mariners the go-ahead run. “Death, taxes, and Seager vs. the Rangers,” his mom would have cackled, and he laughs out loud, startling both Marta and himself.

*

The bacon was burned. She thought she’d checked it but she’d stepped away when the twins started fighting over the Switch, again, and it took longer than she thought it would to break it up, and when she came back the bacon was burned and the eggs rubbery, and the Mariners were losing, badly, where they’d just been ahead. “A home run to Charlie CULBERSON,” whined Nick, slouching in from the living room, and she gave him a sympathetic smile. “And then a throwing error by Crawford, of all people, and then four! straight! hits!” He punctuated each hit with a wave of bacon before stuffing it into his mouth. “Ew, mom, this is burned, did you know that?” Happy Mother’s Day to me, she thought, scraping the eggs into the garbage, as the Mariners again failed to score in their half-inning.

*

The call came in right as the bottom of the sixth started. She muted it and forced her attention back to the screen, where some kid she’d never heard of was taking over for Sheffield, who’d had a rough day. The kid gave up back-to-back hits, before getting a double play: the run scored but he had two outs, and she found herself pulling for the kid to get out of it. The phone buzzed. She silenced it. The kid walked the next two batters, and then gave up an RBI single. The phone buzzed again, and she turned it off, and then got up and turned the game off. She wasn’t in the mood to be disappointed by anyone else today.

*

By this point they’d learned to laugh it off, being treated like au pairs for their own kids, but for some reason Mey had had enough when the server asked if they’d be joined by anyone else for brunch that day. She marched her family out of the charming seaside café and into the first place she saw down the street, a little divey-looking place with beer taps and big TVs showing the Mariners game but Mey spotted a high chair and that was good enough for her. The worst thing this server did was card her, although she did say it was policy to card anyone who looked under 35, and Mey settled in with a tall beer, her girls, and watched the Mariners flail through their last three offensive innings. The server brought her a second beer and coloring pages for the kids without asking, winking over her shoulder. The Mariners lost spectacularly to the Rangers, 10-2. She’d never been more content.