It occured to me on the way home tonight that truly life as we know it is coming to an end when I, Alaska, realize I will be blogging ALL FALL about football. I will be blogging about 9-year-olds playing football, but football nonetheless. I may even blog about Penn State football just because, apparently, the whole place turns blue here. It's already the case that my grocery store is covered in Penn State football paraphanalia.
But tonight I will blog about my 9-year-old. We confirmed tonight that life and Chris had taught Max little about football. He didn't know much out there. But I saw it all from a less biased position -- it hadn't been *my* job to teach him any football. And I had married Chris thinking that his lack of football mania was a nice perk. So I have to say that while there were many, many boys out there and many, many of them knew more about football than Max, he did *not* stick out like a sore thumb. He lacks stamina -- but he made it through the entire two-and-a-half-hour practice still giving it his best at the end. I. was. so. proud. I was! I was this 37-year-old mother of a football playing fourth grader and he was listening and doing what he was supposed to be doing and even, dare I say it, sometimes better than the other kids at paying attention.
The twins and I had gone off to run errands and we joined the football practice at the point where it was already an hour and fifteen minutes into things. I'd worried that there would be nothing for the twins to do but run onto the practice field, so I'd stopped at the store and picked up two nerf footballs (that say, I think, Penn State on them) so they'd have their own game if they wanted. I shouldn't have worried. There were other little boys to play with, a big piece of playground equipment, and some dogs. Maybe I'll bring Emily tomorrow. Chris and I sat and watched them all -- then after 45 minutes Chris got antsy about projects in his workshop, so he took the twins home and tucked them in and I sat and knitted two rows, listened to a brief talk from the head coach, and got to welcome the victorious little dude when practice finally ended right on time. He was tired. REALLY REALLY tired. And really happy. He knew he'd pulled it off. It was fun. He knew he was going to be okay. He had that look that a kid gets on their face when they are genuinely proud of themselves. They don't say anything. They don't need you to affirm it. It's enough all by itself. These moments have been few and far between the past few years. He can be so hard on himself. It was good to see him give himself credit for a job well done.
So we walked to the truck, climbed in, shut the doors . . .
And I decided maybe we should drive to the grocery store and buy the boy his first stick of deodorant. That was a hoot! Standing there in the grocery aisle pulling the lids off of all the manly deodorants and sniffing. He found one he liked. Not floral. Not strong. Hope it works and I also hope it doesn't poison his brain.
We talked and he laughed and he laughed that old Max laugh. That full deep laugh. And I was just blown away by how much I love this kid, by how fast he's growing, and how wonderfully young he still is. He was silly and yet appropriate. He grabbed a package of straws at the store saying, "Ben and Milo go nuts for these things." While I was working the self-checkout thing, he loaded the groceries into bags. I started picking up all the bags and he said, in a "don't be silly" tone, "I've got this Mom. Your hands are already full." And indeed they were, but that would never have occured to him before. We walked out to the truck and he climbed in and I got a look at the bottom of his new football shoes and his feet are so BIG!
You know, earlier in the evening after Chris finished musing over why he'd had so little football exposure as a kid Milo had come around looking for his football (which I'd retrieved after it was abandoned earlier in play). So Chris got up and began tossing the ball back and forth with his youngest child. He was patient, had realistic expectations, and knew how to coach a 3.5 year old to do things well. Milo had a wonderful time. It's no picnic being the firstborn. We're so well intentioned and so clueless.
I'm off to try to make gauge again on those soaker pants.