You might think the life of a baseball wife is very glamorous (and it often is), but it can also be challenging to maintain a “normal” and healthy sense of family, particularly given my husband’s demanding schedule and his profession’s constant rigorous physical exertion. With two kids at home, Jorge and I must constantly and consciously work on nurturing our individual relationships with them and with one another.
And at our family center, it is I who always ends up feeling like the great axis of the group, the one responsible for everyone’s happiness—the juggler, manager, coordinator and all around trouble-shooter of our clan.
When the Yankees are in season and Jorge is playing, he is intensely and rightfully focused on his game and team, and as a family it is our job to always negotiate that. I remember one time recently when Jorge was away, and the kids and I were in Toronto. It was our daughter, Paulina’s birthday, and Jorge wanted to send her a cake. The poor man almost sent a chocolate cake, oblivious to the fact that Paulina abhors chocolate. Because he is away from us a lot, he misses many of the little nuances that comprise our every day; so it is my job, as a consummate team player and love of his life, to help him along the way. In this way, I become the liaison between my husband and children, helping them to foster a healthy and continuous dialogue. Instead of resenting Jorge for not being around, I show him that I accept the seriousness of his career by helping him maintain an active and thriving relationship with his kids. I do this simply…by reminding him that Paulina prefers vanilla.
But maintaining a healthy family is a two-way street, and we must also show him patience and compassion, because, after all, when he’s on the road he misses us as much as we miss him. We show our support by attending many of his games, so that when he looks out into the stands, he sees the smiles of the people he cares about most. Of course his fans adore him; but if he goes 0 for 4, that conditional love fest stops cold, and that’s when it’s nice to know he has fans at home who will always love him no matter what.
SPORTS (LIFE) LESSONS
The beauty of being a baseball family is that we were fundamentally raised on the merits of sports, health and fitness, which have, in time, become crucial pillars of our household. Jorge and I both grew up as staunch athletes in Puerto Rico, driven by the fire of competition and performance, fueled by our own stamina and perpetual desire to progress and evolve. This passion trickled into our adult mindsets and shaped us as individuals who care deeply about the prospect of total wellness—an optimal state of living that calls upon balance, joyfulness and love. This sense of balance comes easily when we train ourselves to become disciplined and dedicated people; and discipline is one of the first qualities to emerge when a person is serious about a sport.
You see, “sports” is not just a bunch of sweaty kids. The earlier you teach your children about the benefits of team sports, the sooner will you be teaching them critical tangible life lessons about the importance of collaboration, cooperation, confidence and focus. Sports can be a true vehicle for your kids, a place to focus their energy in a positive way, less tempted by distractions such as drugs, alcohol and even junk food. With Jorge as our in-house sports role model, it is always easy for us to remember the value of determination, and the true joy of being able to do what you love.
WHAT MATTERS MOST
Not only is it important for me to always nurture my own dreams and passions, but as a Major League Baseball wife and mami I choose to focus on projects that will make a positive impact. For example, I created a foundation that helps families with babies who were born with craniosynostosis, a rare disease that affects the normal growth and shape of the brain and skull. My son, Jorge Jr., was born with this condition, and I wrote a memoir (The Beauty of Love: A Memoir of Miracles, Hope, and Healing) about the experience to show emotional support to other families impacted by craniosynostsis. I also wrote a book (The Posada Family Guide to Health, Exercise, and Nutrition the Inexpensive and Simple Way) about the value of practicing fitness as a family, and how nutritional literacy begins right at home. I use my place in the public eye to raise awareness for the things that matter to me, and which I think I can help make a positive difference.
But what matters most to me, of course, is my family. I’ll never forget the moment, two years ago, after the Yankees won the World Series, and our family was invited to ride through the ticker tape parade with Jorge, who was being honored and cheered for by what seemed like millions of screaming fans. The looks on our children’s faces were priceless. All of those people were screaming for the Yankees catcher, Jorge Posada—and all I could think about was how proud I was of our family, of the little people that Jorge and I had brought into this world, and of all the beautiful and amazing things we had yet to show them, and will.