Saturday, October 31, 2009

Are You Ready For Some Football?

Okay, I had a full night of sleep last night for the first time since last Sunday. Odd, but it took an entire week to recover the routine following Mother's tirade at the hospital. The main issue was trying to recoup the hours I lost at work on Monday, particularly when I lost more on Tuesday spending some time with Marissa, and then there was the extra preparation for a potluck luncheon and costume contest on Friday. I believe in those activities because they build a sense of camaraderie and teamwork, but the timing, as often happens in real life, was less than fortunate. I just felt like I was climbing up a very steep hill all week. When that happens, self pity tends to creep in and things get ugly.

The house looks like a tornado swept through it. There is mail just about every where, some of it opened, some of it not. I would just drop it on random surfaces. A lot of it is on the coffee table surrounding the lap top. Looking at the little piles, I worry that I'm becoming a clutter bug like my mother. But, not to worry, this is a bye week and we get that extra hour, so hopefully I will have time to right the ship. But, first, as I spent some brain cells wondering why I thought I could actually hold down a job under my current circumstances, I chewed over the vague guilt I had over leaving Mom in Greg's hands for a while last Sunday and marveling at how, through all the chaos of our lives, there haven't been more moral conundrums like it. Because there really have not been. Until last year that is. Last year was a challenge to watch every game while Mother was bouncing from one care arrangement to the next all through the fall. I faced it and overcame, but only with the aid of modern technology and the fact that the Steelers got a lot of national attention with their tough schedule. I worry that the streak won't last. There are too many potential obstacles, I'm afraid, and there will come some Sunday when I have to face up to the fact that my boys will have to carry the day without me. But, before that, even with both Kelsey and Marissa in full blown disarray, Sundays were not a particular issue. So, I wondered about that some this week.

For one thing, granting myself leave to watch the game every week is the one thing I can tell you I have no guilt over. Odd as that might sound given how much guilt I feel over my children's upbringing, and how incredibly selfish it must sound. But, while I believe sincerely that parents need to put their kids first because they made the choice to put them on the earth, and now have to own up to raising them to be responsible humans, they can't do that very well if they completely sublimate their own needs. Think of it as re-charging one's battery. And the kids never seemed to mind it. For one thing, it was a given since they were little and they really knew no other routine. They grew up, like I did, to the trappings of the game. That particular crowd noise on Saturdays and Sundays (listen to crowds of various sports without watching, you can tell what the sport is by the ebbs and flows of the spectator noise) was the background for whatever else was happening, good or bad. For Kelsey and Marissa, it was comfortable, as it had been for me. In all the wreckage, there was that modest amount of normalcy. On Saturday, there were the Longhorns, on Sunday there were the Steelers. Fall Sundays were family days and football was the centerpiece. Mother, until the big blow up in 2007, drove herself over every Sunday to watch with us, and either Greg or I would cook an early dinner. Granted, I know now that there were times when they used the fact that I would be distracted to get away with things, but once they got to the point where they genuinely were trying to recover, there was a comfort in knowing what every week would bring. I think that is born out by Marissa now, who came over last Sunday and sat playing Solitaire on the computer during most of the game. When she wasn't playing virtual cards, she was working on a research paper for school. She spent very little time actually watching the game, but there is something about the setting that is comfortable to her. She could have done both those things at her dorm or her boyfriend's apartment, but it wouldn't have been the same, and there are some traditions that are worth keeping. So, really, I never had to think much about it in the past. They played, we all watched.

A routine repeated in countless households all over the country. There is small wonder that major league sports are such big businesses. One can argue that we could have better spent our time together actually talking to one another, or doing an activity that didn't involve holding down the couch. I won't argue with that, but it was what we did and how we rolled. I still roll that way, and hope to roll all the way to a 7th Super Bowl title. But, we'll see about that.

(By the way, here's my little Kordell getting ready to rep the Steelers in Disney World. Ironically, her favorite player on the current roster wears 10. I'm hoping that her Karma extends to us reaching a 10th Super Bowl someday. Now that would be something!)

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