It has come to my attention that all Hallmark movies have the same plot. While this isn’t completely shocking for me, it’s mildly annoying nonetheless. Not that the plots are eerily similar … no … this is what I love about them, it’s that I have a rather vocal family member who spouts off Hallmark spoiler alerts like it’s nobody’s business. It has gotten to the point that Full Speed can almost predict to the minute when the star-crossed lovers seemed doomed to be forever apart.
However, I do not need to hear it.
I DO NOT NEED TO HEAR IT.
I watch enough football, well, a loosely based version of what constitutes as ‘watching football’, and enough high-action dramas (seriously, how many explosions can one main character survive?) that as a reward, Hallmark movies are essentially my birthright.
You can take them or leave them but I’m telling you, if a Hallmark movie is rated ‘G’, it means it’s GOOD.
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.
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.
It is only a recent development that I am now comfortable taking my boys to the grocery store. It’s not without challenges. Since the Superbowl is approaching, they tend to participate in imaginary football games using all the displays that advertise this big game. It doesn’t seem to bother them that they are the only ones in the whole store running passing patterns and/or blocking for their brother as he runs to the freezer section which is the designated end zone. I found the best way to combat these football antics is to give them actual permission to run plays before we head inside. Somehow, if your Mom says ‘2 imaginary field goal attempts are acceptable’, they suddenly lose their charm (see previous post Parenting 101).
I have also found it helpful if I have the boys participate in the task at hand. They alternate between being the cart pusher and my assistant. The cart pusher generally endangers himself and all other patrons in the store. Any sort of food display is at risk as well. I tend to apologize to my fellow shoppers or praise them for their mad dodging skills. As for the displays? I often wish I was on the grocery store payroll for the number of ‘clean-ups in isle such and such’ that I have hastily done as my boys knock over yet another stack of food items.
This past week I had T.Puzzle as my assistant with a new recipe in hand and Full Speed was my cart pusher. It was going fairly well except for an unfortunate, crushing turn that Full Speed had made. Luckily, all that suffered were some coffee filters. We regrouped and headed to the next isle. Since I hadn’t made a Target run all week, I also had to get some basic household items which I relayed out loud to Full Speed. I then checked my text messages to see what Mad Dog needed from the grocery. I told Full Speed those items as well. I then checked in with T.Puzzle and we went over the recipe and he set out to get the final ingredients.
As we turned the last corner our cart was so laden with food and other various products, Full Speed could barely push it. I made him stop as I went over my lists, rechecked my text messages and tried in vain to make sure I had everything I needed.
“I sure hope I got everything,” I said as I eyeballed the mound in our cart.
“Mom, you have to remember like 300 things! I think it’s okay if you forget one or two of them,” Full Speed said.
That goes for all of you reading this, too. Just as my boys will inevitably simulate a sport while shopping, it’s inevitable that as parents, we are going to forget something along the way. Keep it in perspective. Look at the 298 things you DID remember. Now, go kick a field goal!
The stage was set. Parents, grandparents and siblings lined the field. The air buzzed with anticipation. Full Speed had made it to the big dance. His remarkable flag football team was in the championship game. I was nervous because I was first and foremost awake, and I was nervous because I had a feeling the other team thought they would beat us with ease. A parent from the opposition casually mentioned they had won last night’s play-off 38-8. He said it with such cool confidence that it seemed the final score was all the statement needed. We knew enough about this team to know they had two rainmakers. What they didn’t know is that we had the lightning quick hands of defense that could make the rain stop. And, stop them we did.
Since our defense was on fire, it allowed our offense to kick it into high gear. Full Speed ran the ball again and again setting us up for awesome field position. The opposition then became so focused on his running that they couldn’t handle the deep bombs that our QB kept launching. This is where Full Speed’s team was a cut above the rest. We had an actual receiver that could catch these deep bombs. This is quite rare in a U10 league and is what marched us into a 26-18 victory.