Today, while sharing a meal with my parents, you could feel the anticipation as kickoff approached.
Boo squealed when my mom brought out a key-lime pie with sheer childish happiness. Diva just quietly began diving in. She grabbed her spoon & started shoveling her slice in her mouth with such delight it was hard to take my eyes off of her.
Then . . . The snap. Ahh, the first snap of the season & my Red Raiders run down the field. 7 months since I’ve had the chance to gaze upon the glory of my alma mater. And Jones Stadium looked absolutely alive! No tortilla throwing like back in my day, before we joined the Big 12, but they still chant “BULLSHIT” loud enough to be picked up by the microphones if we get a crap call.
And all of the glorious commercials spotlighting the campus that I so intimately adored. Memories flooded my mind; all of our traditions & rituals. Friendships, beloved professors, first jobs & internships. Spreading my wings, for the first time, & learning to fly. Autumn in Lubbock. The Fair in October. Bonfires and, then the the tree-lighting ceremony on campus in December.
The campus is like it’s own small town of teenagers running amuck, & the City of Lubbock is like the laid-back parent, surronding her campus with unfaltering support. If you’ve never lived in Lubbock, Texas, I’m not sure I could ever paint a picture to do it justice. There’s just something in the air in football season (not the cotton from the gins outside of town, or the stench coming from the livestock meats lab, either). There is just something in that red dust that blows, though 24/7. And if you walk the campus in Fall, it gets in your nose, and fills your lungs. A time-honored, quiet pride that fills your face with tears when you leave and each time you remember. It’s a spirit that comes alive when you see a Double T, or admire your class ring.
And we struggled in the first half. And against a nobody team. The highly publicized, mighty son of Lubbock, former player, Kliff Kingsbury & his team . . . It was an UGLY win, but we’ll always take a “W.”
I lost most of my voice screaming during the first quarter, while Boo & Diva chased each other from one end of my parents’ home to the other. Happy. This is my idea of a perfect moment. Diva was armed with a plastic gun & running full speed after her big brother, & I got to watch Tech play. I love ‘em whether they’re winning or losing, but get to run my mouth more when we’re winning.
As Diva ran into my parent’s bathroom during a commercial break, my dad & I were hot on her trail. As I could hear the announcer readying us to for return to the game, I passed a picture hanging beside their bedroom door. It was of my dad holding my son just after his infant baptism, Boo was 6-months old.
I remembered a few minutes from last night, when I tucked him in. My brain just sat there. Just staring at the amazing human being that he is, that he has always been, & that he will be. And also in wonderment & bewilderment of how fast he went from a baby, to toddler, to half-way to 18 so fast. Like a blink.
All the pain & fear seemed minimal in contrast to the love I saw as we sat silently just gazing into each others eyes. He grabbed my tightly and hugged me, then he whispered, “Don’t cry, Mommy.”
I just smiled back, unable to tell him how grateful I am to get to be his mom. I looked at his arms, & how long they have gotten. And then back at my own hand, & thought of a time when I could fit his entire body inside one of my own hands.
Those moments, those intimate, raw, silent moments. Those are golden. As precious as any treasure on earth. And, my OCD brain craves more, & to keep them all to myself – any & all that remain.
It also gives me hope that one day, in the very near future, that all of these very trying times with my previous Diva, will be a faded memory, overshadowed by all of the happy.
So, my personal advise: grab happy & let go of the bullshit.