Friday Night Lights (and Tuesday, Thursday & Saturday)

I watched the movie Friday Night Lights, and I watched every episode of the TV show.  There were definitely parts I couldn’t relate to, but I liked the idea of a community coming together because of a sport.  Not the parts where the coach’s house had rude signs in the front yard after a loss, or where the student athletes were yelled at for losing, but the coming together and supporting the kids, and cheering loudly.

Because the charter school my daughters attend is small, we have a Friday Night Lights feel with our sports (without all the extreme parts).  Husband and I have been to football and volleyball games, boys and girls basketball games, and this year we plan to go to the baseball games.  A lot of families come to the games, even if they don’t have a child playing or cheering, and it is amazing to see how the energy of the school community lights the kids up and gets them playing better.

We know kids on all the teams, and go to support them.  After the game most people wait for the teams to come back out to tell them they did a good job (even if they lost) and how great it was to watch them play.  Last week the girls lost the first division playoff game so their season ended, and it was a great game.  Both teams played well, and the team that beat us did have to work for it.  Little One’s best friend is on the team, and after she was done hugging and crying on Little One I gave her a hug and told her how proud I was of her, and how well she had played.  I got a big hug and a wavering smile for that.

The energy last Saturday night at the boys 2nd division playoff game was amazing.  We had a lot of people from the school community at the game, and all of us chanted, clapped and cheered the boys to victory.  It was an incredible experience being in the gym at that game, and I was really happy to be a part of it.

There is a lot of talk about how parents act out at kids sporting events, and I have seen my share of that.  But more often I have seen what I saw last week, a coming together to cheer the kids on and have a good time.  For the time the game is played everyone is there to support and cheer, and you can see the kids love it, and respond positively to it.  The louder our group was the better the boys played.  It was awesome!

I’m looking forward to the game tomorrow night, even if I probably won’t have a voice to yell with.  Husband can yell loud enough for both of us.  Win or lose (and of course I hope it is win) I get the privilege of being there watching a remarkable group of kids play a game they love.  Whatever night the lights are on, and for whatever sport, I’m happy to be a part of it.

My Turn

I loathe being sick.  I knew with the girls being sick I probably wouldn’t avoid it, but I’m on Day 4 now, and ready for it to be gone.  I can’t breathe, my throat hurts, I’m achy and yes, I’m whining a lot.  Katie Perry wrote a song about me, because I’m hot then I’m cold…and yes, I think I’m kind of loopy too.

I’d like to say I’m a trooper when I’m sick, but I’m not really.  I used to take Dayquil when I was sick, and it really helped.  But I can’t take that anymore, and nothing with Advil, so my options are limited.  I do like the menthol cough/sore throat drops Husband found for me, and they work great.  I did get the girls to urgent care yesterday because their crud turned into eye infections and I needed to get them taken care of.  I am hopeful I won’t get that part.

Even being able to watch The Walton’s (I Love that show!) didn’t make me feel better.  I’m waking myself up snorting because I can’t breathe (which I’m sure is really attractive to Husband) and I’m so achy I can only sleep on my back.  And, I need to say it again, I’m really whining a lot.

I need to be better by Friday because Boys Varsity won the first two basketball games and Friday is their next game, which, if they win, takes them to the finals on Saturday.  The girls are cheering, and these will be the last games Oldest One cheers for high school, so I don’t want to miss them.  I want to be there with everyone else from the school cheering them on and being part of the amazing energy.

And since I’ve now found a happy thought, I’m going to go get a menthol drop and think more about more cheerful things.

More Puke & No Sleep

Definitely a 3 Dew day today.  Oldest One started throwing up around 2a this morning…I think it was 2a but since I didn’t sleep much after that who knows.  Yes, she is 17, but she is still a kid and wanted comfort.  There was nothing I could do except stand in the bathroom watching her puke, then get her back in bed, cover her up and lay next to her rubbing her back.  Which was what she wanted.

At one point I thought I was laying my head on one of the two hundred pillows on her bed, but it was actually the White Fluffy Dog.  He wasn’t very impressed.  And Oldest One kept laying in odd ways across her bed, so I couldn’t get under the covers.  I was wearing long sleeve, long pant pajamas, but I didn’t have socks on, so I was really cold all night.  Fat Grey Cat started licking my foot when it was hanging off the bed, which didn’t impress me.

Husband didn’t sleep either, because I’d get her settled, go back upstairs to bed, and then my phone would go off (and my text notification is Chewbacca snarling/roaring) and I’d jump which would wake him up.  He was wonderful and packed my breakfast, lunch and 3 Mt Dew’s and took Little One to school.  He is so a keeper!

So many of the school cheerleaders are out sick there aren’t enough to go cheer at the basketball playoff games.  This is one nasty bug going around.  I’m hopeful it leaves my house soon and doesn’t come back.

What is up with February 22nd?

I’m not sure what it is about February 22nd, but it seems to be the most popular date to plan every school or club activity possible. Or at least the last weekend in February is.  And my family is used to trying to get to several activities in one day.  I remember this happening in years past, but this year every time we turn around there is something else we should consider doing.

To make it more fun the girls have been/are sick.  Yesterday Little One stayed home from school feeling like she was going to throw up.  Not that she got up, felt bad and went back to bed.  There was an extended time period of melting down and crying and insistence that she would fall behind if she missed classes (she currently has all A’s…).  I finally had to leave for work, which I arrived at 30 minutes late so I had to stay 30 minutes later to make it an 8 hour day.  I felt Husband could handle it just fine…he got her to go back to bed.

Then, 10 minutes before I was about to leave Oldest One called, and she was in tears wanting to know where I was.  That morning she was stuffy and felt a migraine coming on, so I made sure she had migraine medication and told her to take Sudafed.  Turns out she wanted to know where I was because the school cheer coach had sent her home from practice because she was sick.  And she was calling me from her car as she drove home, which is a huge NO.  I told her to take Advil when she got home and I’d be there in about an hour and to never use her cell phone while driving…to which she replied “you do it all the time.”  I don’t, but I have, so I told her to do as I say not as I do, that I loved her, and finished the call.  She has a temperature, body aches, a sore throat, and feels like she is going to throw up.  Fun times!

Sick girls makes the weekend easier to figure out.  The activity going on where Oldest One will attend college is out, because we aren’t taking her on a 2 hour drive for a 6 hour event when she doesn’t feel well.  And technically it is a 3 day thing, and she decided yesterday she just can’t do that to herself, and it will be fine if she doesn’t go.  Off the list!  Also off the list, sadly, is attending the school dance team’s competition.  We know several girls on the team, and wanted to go support them, but their competition is at the same time as basketball playoffs.

On Tuesday our club cheer gym decided to try and fit a competition in Saturday, which would have interfered with the girls doing a community service event with their respective honor societies.  Luckily (awful way to put it) there are so many sick kids they decided against that.  So the girls can still drag themselves to the community event.  Which interferes with the Girls Varsity basketball playoffs.

Both Girls and Boys Varsity basketball made playoffs, and the schedule was just put out yesterday.  Games on Friday, and if won, on Saturday.  Which the girls may or may not cheer at, but which we will go to so we can support our “other” children.  Except Girls Varsity plays at the same time as the community event, so we aren’t sure about making that one.  Boys Varsity plays at night, so those should be easy.

Which brings me back to why February 22nd is so popular for every activity known to mankind to take place on?  I’ll probably never figure it out, but next year I’ll just mark the calendar to hide under the bed and pretend the last weekend of February isn’t happening.

19 Years

19 years ago today I married my incredibly wonderful Husband.  He quietly snuck out the morning of our wedding and woke me up with a Jack in the Box breakfast bouncing on the bed saying “We’re getting married today!”  I’m not a morning person, so I’m pretty sure my response wasn’t as enthusiastic as his, but by the time we were standing in front of 130 people getting married I was just as excited.

Husband really didn’t want to dress up in a tux, and he said he’d be happy getting married in jeans.  So, although we didn’t know it at the time, we threw the first of many themed parties.  We had a Western Wedding theme, and he got to wear jeans, and I wore a very cute western dress and boots.  We were in our mid-twenties, but looking back today we look so very young in our wedding pictures.

We had a wonderful ceremony and a fantastic reception.  What had started out as eloping on New Year’s Eve turned into a full wedding and reception, and we are both so glad it turned out that way.  Looking back I don’t remember the problems family caused, or the Disaster of the Day (my Dad’s phrase, and now a running joke between us) hours before the rehearsal dinner scheduled at my parent’s house.

When I look back what I remember is how incredibly gorgeous he looked waiting for me to walk down the aisle to him.  He was determined there would be no tears during the ceremony, and he made me laugh so hard during my vows that I actually had to take a second to get control so the ceremony could continue.  We came right out into our first dance to start the reception because we wanted people to relax and have fun.  We danced to the Elvis version of Can’t Help Falling in Love, and then did a second dance to the Turtle’s So Happy Together.  We still dance to those songs today, and even had the DJ play them specifically for us at each of the girls Bat Mitzvahs.  Our tiered wedding cake had chocolate frosting, and that frosting is still smudged on his black cowboy hat to this day to remind us of the fun we had that night.

Our friends had gotten us a hotel room for the night, and decorated it with rose petals and left us food and champagne in the room.  In the morning we both bolted up early because we realized with trying to get out of the house on time we had left our dog outside all night, which we never did, so we ran back home to let her in.  She was fine, and was perfectly happy spending a night outside.  We went together to change my name on my social security card and driver’s license.

I could not have known 19 years ago how much more I would love Husband today, and how that love would just keep growing each day.  I couldn’t ask for a better Dad for the girls.  It hasn’t always been easy, and we have definitely had our share of challenges, but we met them together.  I consider myself lucky, blessed, fortunate and whatever other words fit that I am married to Husband.  Happy 19th Anniversary Baby, I Love You So Much!!!

The One with the Louder Yell

Last week I learned that even though I say No a lot to the girls, they are actually more concerned with upsetting Husband than they are with getting me worked up.  His voice is louder (of course!) and I guess his stern tone is just far more forbidding than mine is.

I’ve known for a while the girls don’t think I’m as stern, although they do say I have an “angry walk” and if they see me doing it they leave me alone.  Doesn’t that sound intimidating, an angry walk.  I don’t feel I’m a total pushover, and Husband has been known to give an okay to things I’m iffy on.  On Halloween I said No to Oldest One staying out all night at a bonfire and missing school the next day even though “all the kids would be there.”  I did ask who all the kids were, and got the answer I wouldn’t know any of them.  That made it better, hanging out with a bunch of teenagers I had never met.  She had friends over to watch horror movies and was in school on November 1st.

So last week was a cookie baking and poster making week as senior athletes were being recognized, and cheerleaders were giving them goodies.  At least mine were.  Oldest One got home from club cheer practice after 9p (she had to stop at the store for candy to hand out) and let us know she was making and icing sugar cookies.  Of course, because I wanted to go to bed.  Oh, and she was making several amazing posters, one of which Little One needed to work on because it was for her basketball player.  Oldest One needed my help writing numbers on the cookies, so I told her to just wake me up and I would go downstairs, write numbers, then go up and go back to sleep.  She said No, never mind, she didn’t want Dad to get mad and yell.  What?  I asked if she was worried about me getting mad, and she said no, I’d only get mad if she got sick (I had said staying up all night for several days doing all this stuff was a great way to get run down and to get sick).  I said that I’d never gotten mad at her for getting sick, and she said, “See!? Exactly!” which did make sense if you look at it from a teenage view.

Then I got upstairs and Little One was melting down because she didn’t know what to do for the poster.  I had just traced out part of it in pencil, so I said I’d go help her and then go to bed.  She didn’t want me to because she didn’t want Dad to get mad and yell that she wasn’t letting me go to bed.  Again, What?  I convinced her nobody would yell, we went down, and I helped her get the poster started, and went upstairs to get ready for bed, and to complain to Husband that it wasn’t for my welfare the girls weren’t willing to bother me, but because they didn’t want to make him mad and have him yell.

He thought that was really funny.  Mainly because I come from a family of people who yell to communicate, and it took me several years to learn not to yell, but if anyone is going to crack and yell it would be me.  He also thought it was funny the girls weren’t worried about me not getting enough sleep and having to work, or anything along the lines of making my life more difficult, it was all about not upsetting Dad.

So what I get from this is I need to learn how to be louder than Husband, and sound more threatening too.  An angry walk just isn’t enough; I need something extra that makes it bad to upset me.  Realistically, who am I kidding?  I like being needed to help with their things, and I’ll drag myself downstairs and complain about losing sleep while happily helping with whatever they are doing.  I enjoy those small bonding moments, and I like to see the girls doing nice things for others and not expecting anything in return.  Oldest One also sets cookies aside just for me, so really, I can’t complain too loudly or I might not get the cookies.

Wonderful Seniors (The Ones in High School)

This weekend Oldest One was honored as a senior athlete just before the Boys Varsity basketball game.  Because cheerleading runs through two seasons the honors and banquets come at the end of basketball season.  She was really excited about this, and so were we.

We weren’t sure we would make the basketball game because we had a competition with club cheer.  It turned out that the girls team pulled out (after we drove 45 minutes to the venue) because we had a sick flyer who couldn’t be there, two girls with broken fingers and the competition was running two hours behind before it even started.  So, although the team had been ready for competition, it worked out for us as we made the Girls Varsity basketball game too.

Before the Boys Varsity game started all the cheerleaders, Girls Varsity and Boys Varsity members lined up on the court.  Each senior athlete was given a candy bar/Hershey Kisses arrangement and two roses.  The honorees each wrote a letter that was read aloud thanking whoever they wanted, and saying what it meant to have been part of the team and school through the years.  Then the school said something about each senior.  It was such a great ceremony.

Oldest One was the first one honored, and she is the only senior cheerleader.  The very first people she thanked were Husband and I, which made us feel so much love for her.  Yes, all the kids thanked their parents, but not necessarily first, and she thanked us for all of our cheer support over the years.  One of the basketball players we often feed and who is at our house a lot also thanked us for our support, which was completely unexpected, and really touched us.

All of the seniors have been accepted to college, and most have a scholarship.  Oldest One has an academic scholarship that pays tuition for four years.  None of our state universities give cheerleading scholarships.  Some of the kids are going to be playing football at a community college on scholarship, which is so awesome considering this is the first high school graduating class for our small charter school.

It has been a privilege to watch these kids grow up, and to see where they are going on the next part of their adventures.  I once had a co-worker who told me her house had been the gathering place for kids when her children were in high school, and many of the kids had stayed in touch with her, and she had gone to graduations and weddings for them, and got to see their children.  I hope Husband and I will be that lucky; to get to continue to be a part of the lives of the kids who invade our house, make a lot of noise, eat everything not nailed down, and truly help to make our house a great home.

I Didn’t Want to Call Mom

Yesterday was my Mom’s 83rd birthday.  This is the first year in a very long time that I haven’t celebrated with her.  I did call her.  I called her not because I wanted to, but because I felt I had to.  For me this is an important distinction.  It wasn’t a long conversation, because I wasn’t up for it, and all it did was put me in a bad mood.

I thought about writing everything that happened to cause this situation, but that would be too long, and also upset me.  Basically, the way I see it (and I’m sure she sees it in a different way), moving in with her Boyfriend changed it all.  I encouraged her to move in with her Boyfriend, and thought it would be a good thing.  There is no way I could have known I remind Boyfriend of his deceased daughter who he had a bad relationship with, so he doesn’t like me, Husband or the girls.  My Mom told me as way of explanation for why we felt he didn’t want to be around us.  Nice.

So, it went from seeing my Mom every weekend, and having her do all sorts of things with us to only seeing her when she could convince Boyfriend to spend a few hours with us.  Then she started to berate me for perceived insults against Boyfriend, and was always mad at me, and made me feel that nothing I did or my family did was good enough, or right, or acceptable.

My Mom also called my brothers and told them a lot of nasty things about me trying to break up her relationship, and being mean…I’ll leave it at that, though she said much worse.  My brothers have been fairly cold to me, and one of them started to ream me out, except I pretty much hung up on him to stop it.  Plus I was crying.  I was worried about some things my Mom had mentioned about Boyfriend, such as it was a mistake to move in with him, and that he knew all her financial information and told her what she could spend money on.  My brothers blamed me for the problems, and said my Mom was happy and Boyfriend was great.  My brothers also live out of state and give my Mom a lot of phone advice, but never actually fly out to visit or help her.  That was left to me, so I have no idea what has been going on since I stopped talking to her in September.

When I called yesterday my Mom acted like nothing was wrong, and just wanted to get together because she misses me and the girls.  Mind you she hasn’t called, hasn’t apologized for saying some really nasty things, hasn’t apologized for ignoring the girls (she completely missed Little One’s birthday, which really made her sad), nothing.  Husband pointed out that is how my Mom is, but I can’t pretend nothing is wrong.  I can’t pretend that she pretty much ignored me when I was not able to get out of bed for a month, and instead of helping would call and yell at me because I wasn’t nice enough to Boyfriend.  When I needed her for support to get through a hard time she only made everything worse.  I know she is elderly, I know I am supposed to be better than this, but right now, I just don’t want to be around her.  I know I don’t want to do this to my girls, and I hope they never feel I let them down in the way I feel my Mom has let me down.

Husband was wonderful last night in helping to cheer me up, and didn’t say a word when my dinner was chocolate chip cookie dough ice cream, and found Star Trek:  The Wrath of Khan for us to watch on TV (I am a huge Star Trek fan).  Then teenagers descended upon us (and the girls weren’t home from cheer practice yet) and that was the final piece that put me back into a good mood.  Something about the kids coming over, being comfortable at our house and eating everything in sight is just enjoyable.  It gets so loud I can’t hear anything, but the loud is laughter and happy talking, so I don’t need to really hear, I just smile at the chaos.  I’m not a perfect Mom, I don’t think there is such a thing, but I do my best, I love my girls, and I love the extra kids Husband and I have come to worry over and care about.  These are the people who make my life happy and extraordinary.

Out-of-State Competition

We had the first out-of-town competition two weeks ago.  This was our third time at this competition, so we knew what to expect, but every competition is still different from year to year.  It was nice to get out of town, even if we didn’t do anything, and we had a good time.  Oldest One got teary on Day Two when she realized she won’t be there competing with our cheer gym next year.  I think watching the video on the big screen of their performance hit her emotionally.  I don’t usually buy the girls clothes at competitions, because the stuff is so expensive, but this year I bought them each a t-shirt to commemorate Oldest Ones last year at this one.

Cheer competitions have a lot of sitting around for parents.  This one was not an exception.  We had to be there (okay, the girls did) at 7a for the girls team to go on shortly after 9a.  And we do try to watch all the teams in all the categories on the stage in front of us, but after a while they all start to look alike.  We left around 10a Day One, but had to be back at 3:30p for Oldest One to compete with a second team.

Just to make it all more fun, in between competing the passenger window behind the driver decided not to go up after being rolled down.  We sent the girls in the room to change/shower/rest (Oldest One couldn’t shower yet) while Husband tackled the door and I pretended to be helpful.  It was mostly a one person job.  He took the door completely apart, and found the part to roll up the window was completely dead.  So we drove to an auto parts store, but the part wasn’t in stock anywhere in the city we were in.  Husband creatively got the window up, duct taped it, and put the door back together so we could finish out the weekend and get back home.

The hardest part of the weekend was avoiding other parents.  I know, that sounds harsh.  I like the majority of the parents at our cheer gym, but there are some it is just better to not be around because they are proud train wrecks.  I did get cornered on Saturday coming out of the bathroom.  And by cornered I mean this woman wanted to hug me, and I did not want to hug her, but she literally had her arms out and moved with me blocking me off until I gave up and hugged her.  Why does this woman insist on hugging me or touching my hair?

Saturday night we went to a BBQ at the condo rentals several families were at.  I have to say that part of the out-of-town fun is at the end of Day One when several of us Moms get together and do a group hair curl.  The kids don’t complain as much, we help each other so it gets done faster, and it is just a lot of laughing and talking.  This time I only did Oldest One’s hair because another Mom grabbed Little One and put her hair up.   I also do another cheerleader’s hair, but this time a Mom who finished early grabbed her and did her hair.  The kids talk, us Moms chat, and then we all go to our hotels and get to sleep early because we are so tired.

Day Two was the Super Bowl, so Husband went to see both girls team compete around 10:30a and go through awards, and then he hunkered down for some football in the hotel room.  Oldest One and I had been arguing about who would drive, since neither of us wanted to drive in a city we didn’t know.  I drove while she navigated, and I missed the Super Bowl while Oldest One competed with her second team and waited for awards.  Little One came with me so we had time together which was nice.  The bad part was our team competed early, so they were released to parents two hours before awards.  I got the girls food and then we sat on the floor in the lobby (really hard to get up after that long!) until awards.  It seems I got the better deal going to the cheer competition over watching the Super Bowl this year.

Next year Oldest One will fondly think of us sitting in the hotel, waving our arms wildly every 15 minutes when the lights and fan shut down (a quirk of the room timer that doesn’t work right), or remember me stumbling out of bed several times during the night to keep turning the air down because she was hot and throwing covers around and waking Husband and I up.  If the room was kept at about 65 I froze but the girl’s side of the room stayed comfortable.  We will miss her complaining about the lack of water pressure and showerhead made for short people.  I guess I’ll have to argue with Little One, and throw water bottles at her…the arguing I have down, the throwing stuff, well, I might need practice.