Saturday, October 26, 2013

My Comic Book Kid

It's hard to get anything past this kid. He's a little too much like his mom. In many ways. The big 18 loomed, and we were faced with the fact that older brother would be away at college and two good friends would be out of state on vacation. No birthday day celebrating. Andrew could not even get a little excited about his big day without his 3 main side kicks. 

So, introduction of Plan B. And Plan B mushroomed. Once we had those 3 on board, we got the creative idea to blow it all out into a big party, a surprise party, a surprise birthday party, the likes of which this kid hasn't seen in a few years.

I honestly think the last time he had a birthday party was in the 6th grade. And I'm not gonna' lie. I've had serious mom guilt about it. But, to my point, he is like his mom and has not wanted a party. So, against all wishes I knew he would have, hubby and I set out to mastermind an 18th birthday party bash, albeit a party one week before his birthday. Which I knew would bother him. Like it would bother his mom. But, having it early was in our favor since it would be totally unexpected. 

Hubby worked with the pastor at church, Bo, who worked with the kids from church and it looked like we were going to pull this thing off. We waffled a little bit on what exactly to do with a house full of boys, and we waffled a bit on whether or not to get a birthday cake. We knew good teenage boy food was key and that cake would good - and we knew we could figure out some kind of after dinner event that would make Andrew smile. I just felt it would all come together. 

And come together it did. All the boys showed up on time. Bo had commandeered Andrew to come over to work on some things...and then blindfolded Andrew and promptly drive him back home. Hubby got home with the Pluckers wings and the birthday cake. I printed off an X-men image to decorate the cake. Was it actually going to come off without a hitch? 

Sure enough, Bo got Andrew there and through the doorway before Andrew knew where he was. And when he walked through the door and saw everyone, his face lit up like a Christmas tree! Score! The kid who didn't ever want a party could actually have a party and enjoy it!  Wings, chips and queso were devoured, the cake was enjoyed, gifts were fun, all amidst typical teenage boy teasing and conversation.

 They laughed and cut-up and were genuinely having a great time. Almost all of them opted to head out to see The Wolverine movie with my guys. The party was the perfect way to celebrate his big day. It was an added bonus that the teen boy movie d'jour was actually an X-Men movie. 

But beyond the obvious success of the evening, I saw the real gift of the evening. 12 young men came into our home and celebrated my somewhat introverted son. My son that gives of himself and never asks anything in return.

You see, my comic book kid is full of surprises and he regularly entertains us with his own comedic banter, his quick retorts, his deep ability to empathize, his rapier sharp wit. And he is my super hero. Because he can do all of that with a skip in his step and a smile as big as Dallas on his face. Kapow. Bam. Wow. 

Surprise ~ Andrew's 18th ~ August 2013

Sketch Credit: Scrapbook Generation

Paper: Simple Stories
Font: BD Cartoon Shout

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

For the Love of the Game

If I were to be completely honest, I would have to save that I have had an on-again, off-again relationship with these men. And that is so unlike me. I am usually fairly consistent, painfully loyal and stoically steadfast. I’ve never been one to play the field….Chalk it up to my childhood, or our nomadic married life, or just my yearning for the “real deal”.
Football started for me as a young child, and goes as far back as I can recall. You see, it’s always been there. Back in the days of “Luv Ya’ Blue” and Bum Phillips’ prowess as the leader of the Houston Oilers, I was in the hey days of my teenage life. And as a native Houstonian, the Oilers were always on in the background. So very many Sunday afternoons spent as a young girl, laying belly down on the carpet reading the Sunday cartoons, football game playing on one of our three TV channels, and the roast in the oven warming up the house with its aromatic, heady scent. I didn’t care much about the football game, but it was part of my Sunday trifecta of family fall bliss.
I headed off to Arkansas for college. And shut down on football. Our college team was insubstantial and the Razorback fans were beyond my comprehension. Saturday and Sunday afternoons were saved up for fun road trips, campus leisure, last minute studying and the ever present piles of laundry. Young married life had us back in Houston, but Bum was long gone and the chants of “Luv Ya’ Blue” were gone with him. In fact, before long, the whole team was packed up lock, stock and barrel and shipped off to a greedier fan base in Tennessee.
They left town the same year that we did. Our Houston days turned to San Antonio days turned to McAllen days  and we spent almost a decade in regions that didn’t have an NFL franchise. It didn’t matter. We were busy with the boys and Sunday afternoons were set aside for naps or time at the park or family days spent crafting or playing games. I’m really practically thrilled that for those eight years we lived outside the scope of “Game Day”. We crafted Sabbath memories and traditions and reveled in together times.
When we moved to Dallas in 2005, I wasn’t anticipating falling in love with the NFL. I had flirted with The Cowboys in my childhood during Christmas visits to family in Denton. I always had aunts and uncles and cousins that were rooting for their hometown team. I was around them often enough, but it was never okay for me to love them given the divisive rivalry in Texas between Oiler fans and Cowboy fans. I didn’t know then that my observance from afar of Tom Landry’s gentlemanly coaching of the Cowboys would lay the groundwork for my own fan base. And I didn’t fall in love fast once here, either. My Cowboys crept up on me much like my sweetheart…just a little bit here and there over time, until suddenly I had to admit I was in love and needed them in my life.
Having lived so long outside the scope of the NFL, I had never gone to a real game. I had never really even aspired to. But when Jerry Jones launched the new stadium with the 2009 season, I was already an avid fan and my curiosity was peaked. Attendance in early 2010 to a state play-off football game at Jerry’s World to watch my sister’s school district drew me in. The chance to go to the stadium for the $10 admission was a chance we couldn’t pass up. And, the stadium rewarded our attendance – it was truly amazing. I was still content, though, given ticket prices, to watch the home team games on our television.
As luck would have it, the season opener for 2013 was at home…against our division rivals, the New York Giants…the pre-season roster was looking good…Jason Garrett was gelling as a coach…the ante for a home win was up…and we needed a little something fun to do. Sometimes I get a wild hair…and I just had this gut feeling that the Cowboys were going to win for the first time against the Giants in the new stadium…and I wanted to be there! I just felt like, given our recent launch of our oldest to college, that we needed to get out of the house, we needed to do something different, we needed to stir up some fun.
I found the tickets online via StubHub, reserved and prepaid for parking…and kept the secret from my honey for as long as I could. I was bubbling inside and so very excited that I had to tell him on Saturday before the game the next day – I just couldn’t contain it anymore. I wanted him to have the chance to look forward to it as much as I was! The words to NBC’s Sunday night game never rang more true – “I’ve been waiting all day for Sunday Night!” We woke up Sunday morning almost giddy. I couldn’t help but tell our pastor where we were headed that night. See, everyone’s a fan. Most anyone you run into is proud of our hometown team – regardless of their record. It’s just a club we’re all in together.
We planned to leave the house around 3. We’d drive over ahead of the traffic, eat at the nearby Pappadeaux, and then head into the stadium to catch everything. We got there around 5:30 and were truly entertained for the two hours leading up to the game. And I can tell you this – it was the PERFECT game to have as your first NFL game.
We were the NBC’s Sunday night football. We were in a division game. We were up against our rivals. We were going for the first home win. And win we did! There’s never been a faster game that I watched. Four quarters rolled by, down after down, faster than you can say “How ’bout dem Cowboys!” We beat the Giants solidly – and at that moment all of the rest of the season didn’t matter. For that moment, we were winners and we were so excited to be part of it all. We were there. For the team. For the win. For the fun. For the game. For the love of the game.
I’ve Been Waiting All Day for Sunday Night ~ Cowboys vs. Giants ~ September 2013

Sketch Credit: Scrapbook Generation
Paper: Little Yellow Bicycle
Chipboard Letters: Bella Blvd.