We are more adaptable than we realize. We have settled into new routines and found sparks of hope in unexpected places. T.Puzzle’s new mantra is “less school, more video games!” Silver linings are there for the taking.
Everyone has unique strengths during times of stress. While my strength lies in cultivating family bonds, I may also freak out a little more than the rest of my clan. Thankfully, I am married to a man who never freaks out. It actually kind of freaks me out that he is so calm ALL THE TIME. At this point, I am not going to change who I am, but I am forever grateful I feel safe enough to fully be myself and know without doubt, I am loved just as I am.
When this whole pandemic began to impact our lives, to help preserve my sanity, I took a major pause from social media. I simply cannot hold that many stories in my head and function well. It may appear that I am less connected to what matters, but I have found the opposite to be true. I am remembering the beauty of my own backyard.
My imagination runs wild so I have to be mindful of the T.V. shows I watch. Otherwise my sleep will be disrupted and general mind mayhem will ensue. This leaves me with limited options. I have been reduced to watching lots of reality T.V. This is fine in small doses, but recently I have noticed my propensity to want to walk around in thong bikinis, toss martinis about and speak incoherently in a British accent. Weirdly, Mad Dog has little to no objections concerning my altered behaviors. I am in no danger of being voted off the island.
We were on our way. We had travelled many miles and planned months in advance for this day. This was THE day.
Full Speed and T.Puzzle were going to their first Cubs game.
In the weeks leading up to this momentous event, I tried to convey to them how special this was to me. So much of my childhood and memories of my mom were wrapped up in Cubs’ fandom. I had met Mad Dog because of the Cubs. Our first date was in the left field bleachers. I fell in love with Mad Dog at Wrigley.
Wrigley Field is my mecca.
Obviously, I was feeling a bit emotional but mostly excited. We decided to walk part of the way from our rented, summer apartment and grab a cab closer to the field.
Then, I felt the first raindrop. Then, another. Soon, I wasn’t sure if I was feeling rain wet my face or anxious tears.
How could it threaten to rain on this of all days? The most holiest day of my young children’s lives?
Inwardly (ok, outwardly, too) I started to freak out. Full Speed could tell I was losing it and quickly grabbed my hand.
“It’s okay, Mom. It’s only raining a little. It’s going to be okay.”
And, then, almost instantly it was okay.
Here’s why: I stopped focusing on all the things that could go wrong (possible rain, thunder, game cancellation) and started to look at all that was wonderful.
First of all, I had this incredibly handsome and caring young man holding my hand. Wow, Full Speed is going to make one heck of a husband when he grows up. Which brought me to my own husband. He worked so hard and planned so carefully for our little family to have this awesome Cubs experience for two reasons. First, he is a Cubs fan, but secondly, because he does all he can to make me happy. Seeing him up ahead leading our little family and watching him stay positive that no rain would slow us down, made my heart full.
I decided in that moment that I wasn’t going to let the threat of bad weather ruin this awesome day. However it unfolded was going to be perfect. I was with my favorite guys and all I felt was gratitude.
Sure enough, soon after we arrived in the park it rained and rained and rained.
What did we do? We got some ponchos and soldiered on.
With much anticipation and thankfully no thunder, the game started on time. Within moments, the Diamondbacks had a runner on and their clean-up hitter launched a line drive home run to right-center. It was the kind of homer you instantly knew it was gone. The way it cracked off the bat was soul-crushing.
And, it still rained on us. A lot.
Somehow the Cubs made a comeback, honestly if you’ve been watching their season at all, this is hardly surprising. Offensively they are a juggernaut. They managed to get the lead back by the fourth inning and maintain it until the end. This only got sweeter when my favorite player, Anthony Rizzo, clocked a solo home run in the bottom of the eighth inning. I screamed so loud I nearly lost my voice. You can actually see us on the MLB recap as we were behind home plate as Rizzo completes his trek around the bases. We are easy to spot because I am jumping for joy. To this day, Full Speed does a dead-on impersonation of me jumping around like a crazy person for Anthony’s home run.
This is the story of a midwestern girl. She grew up in a rural town and never thought much beyond the outskirts of the farmlands that surrounded her. On a whim post-graduate school, she moved to Chicago. There, she met a Northwestern matriculating Buckeye. She didn’t think much of football but she did think much of the Buckeye. Quickly, she fell in love. Not so quickly, he did too.
Their romance wasn’t always a fairytale. No matter, the girl followed her heart again and again. On her convoluted path to finding everlasting love with this most handsomest of Buckeyes, she journeyed to Arizona with him to her first Ohio State National Championship game. As fate would have it, they won in a spectacular double overtime fashion.
This prompted the Buckeye to believe in miracles.
He got over himself finally and proposed to the girl.
She said yes.
She married her Buckeye at Disney World that same year.
She didn’t even mind when Mickey had to show some Buckeye spirit. I mean, she was finally married after all. She was in a generous mood.
Two, awesome little Buckeyes soon followed. Understanding that her Beloved bled scarlet and gray, the girl agreed to raise their family strictly Buckeye.
Two more National Championships followed. The girl didn’t attend either as she had her little Buckeyes to care for and tickets for such events are a rarity. Both of these ended in heartbreaking losses. Her Buckeye made it to both of these. He likes to pretend he never went as both games stir painful memories for him.
Flash forward to present day and the Buckeyes had done it again. They were ready to take on the Oregon Ducks for the National Title. The girl hoped and prayed that somehow her Buckeye would get to go.
The Wednesday before the game the Buckeye called the girl.
“Are you sitting down?” he asked.
“We have four tickets to the game.”
And, that’s when this story starts getting really, really good.
The Buckeye and the girl packed up their little Buckeyes and hit the road. So what if it was 30 hours round trip? This was the NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP.
As the weekend unfolded, the anxiety of the pending game was almost too much for the girl to take. She tried to keep her focus on being grateful to spend this adventure with her 3 favorite boys regardless of the game’s outcome. It wasn’t always easy.
Finally, game day arrived. As this little family made their way into the enormous stadium, nerves were at an all-time high. There were Buckeyes EVERYWHERE. It was like they were attending a home game at the ‘Shoe. The band was impeccable, the crowd was electric, the jumbotron was massive,….it was AWESOME.
As the game commenced and the Ducks methodically marched down the field and scored on their first possession, the littlest Buckeye burst into tears. As the waterworks flowed, his heart lost its ability to believe in a Buckeye victory.
The Buckeyes quickly answered and spirits were lifted instantly but remained precarious until solidly into the second half.
As the fourth quarter began to dwindle, the girl couldn’t believe that she was there. That the Buckeyes were going to win. Her Buckeye was joyous. Her little Buckeyes rejoiced. The whole stadium erupted as the final seconds ticked away.
When I began this blog, I didn’t really have any big goals. I was still grieving the profound loss of my mom, which does and doesn’t get easier, and coping with raising two rambunctious boys. I started writesforallmommies on a whim and it became a great coping mechanism for me. It allowed me to connect with others in a way that my very introverted personality sometimes doesn’t allow.
Through the years, I have had posts that click with a reader, friend or relative. That is the best feeling in the world. To know that something I wrote resonated and hopefully made them feel less alone. Let’s be honest, raising children (or life in general) can be very isolating. We feel judged as much as we judge. We question ourselves as much as we question others. We put on a brave front that we know what we are doing, when in fact, we know very little about how our actions will impact the future. It is frightening and exhilarating and mystifying and lovely all at once.
I recently received an email from a mom thanking me for my support during her daughter’s recent diagnosis of ectopia lentis. This is the same, genetic eye disorder both of my boys have. It is so rare, that it is difficult to find adequate resources on-line or anywhere at all for that matter. This mom is one of three that has contacted me through writesforallmommies.com concerning this matter.
To be able to help these moms cope with the overwhelming feelings that came with this bizarre sounding disorder has been one of the greatest rewards of writing this blog. I share this with you because if you are going through a particularly rough patch right now, know that it is preparing you to be of service to someone else. My boys were undiagnosed for a long, long time and not knowing anyone who had gone through the same experience was gut-wrenching. I know I didn’t completely prevent the feelings of despair for these women, but I eased the way and gave them hope. My boys are living proof that vision does not define them. They are awesome, adaptive and remarkable. No matter what happens with their vision down the road, they will remain awesome, adaptive and remarkable.
Another year is drawing to a close and I still marvel at all the ways motherhood continues to challenge me and make me grow. I am grateful to both my boys for always loving me even though I don’t always get things right. Their perpetual love of life inspires me. Their perpetual energy? I’m still trying to get a handle on that.
Full Speed has grown tremendously this year. His humor is getting more sophisticated and I love that he can crack me up on a regular basis. As a fourth grader, I’m fairly sure that Santa’s existence is tenuous at best for him, but he keeps holding onto the dream. I suspect he is doing it as much for me as he is for himself. That only makes me love him more.
T.Puzzle has changed dramatically. He still has threads of empathy woven permanently into his soul, but it surfaces less now. All he wants to do is play football. If he’s not playing it, he’s talking about it. I miss the sweetness of him, but I admire the competitor he’s become.
Which brings me to the new level of interaction my boys have with Mad Dog. They all live, eat and breathe football. Even my precious walks to school with the boys are now consumed with serious discussions about stats and standings.
There isn’t much I can do about it. It would be like my boys asking me not to be a writer. I can’t ask them to be something they aren’t. My job is to help them fully realize who they are. Right now that happens to be fanatical football fans. Sure it would be nice to have someone to watch romantic comedies with, take long walks in nature and sit with me in silence as we ponder life and existence.