The flyer came home announcing that the choir would be singing at the local high school’s football game against their biggest cross-town rivals. In fact, six elementary choirs would be there, singing before the game. A parent must accompany the child, and admission is included.
I think, “Cool!” and then, “I hope we don’t have to stay for the whole game…” I say to The Boy, “We can stay until half-time, OK?” He says yes. Friday comes, and I remind him that we have the football game that evening. He remembers, and I remind him of the time we will need to leave. Being a game between cross-town rivals means that parking will be scarce, and I want to make sure we have plenty of time to get there. It is a cold day, and I know it will only get colder, so I mention he will have to wear his under-armour-type shirt beneath his choir shirt. He’s not pleased. He doesn’t like the sleeves of the undershirt to show. “We’ll figure it out,” I think to myself.
Fast-forward to five o’clock, the time I pick The Boy up from Kids Club, at his request. I remind him of the football game, and that we will have to leave by 5:50 or so, to make sure we get there in time. “OK,” he says, getting exasperated with all of the reminders. At 5:30, I start shouting out how many minutes we have left. At 5:40, I begin shouting that he needs to get his clothes on and get ready to go. At 5:50 he comes out of his room, looking for shoes to wear, and seizes his crocs. “Oh, no,” I say, “You cannot wear crocs this evening. It’s too cold, and it’s wet. You will be miserable. Tennis shoes, please,” And the obligatory meltdown ensues.
I did not exhibit my best parenting skills in the convening moments, and between the two of us, and our emotional states, I decided it would be best not to go, and told The Boy of my decision. At first, speaking (shouting) through the haze of meltdown, he was in complete agreement. At 6:05, he began to reconsider his position, realizing that he really did want to go. He went to get his boots out of the coat closet, and began pleading with me to go (loudly and tearily). It had begun to rain. Lightly, but necessitating an umbrella, at least. I looked at the clock. 6:15, the time we were supposed to be there…
Rolling the dice, we got into the car, and after having to stop several times in the driveway because The Boy was not calm, and not ready to go anywhere, we began our drive to the high school. In triage-mode, I maneuvered my way around the subdivision near the high school, eventually finding a parking spot on a street I thought might be close to where we needed to be. We walked quickly down the street, still rather frayed emotionally. We were able to turn onto a street that had an outlet into the school parking lot, entered the stadium area, and found our group amazingly quickly. They hadn’t started yet, from what I could decipher – it was pretty chaotic. There was no direction, but I sent The Boy with his peers when it looked like they were heading toward the front of the field, finding some of his classmates, who were all too ready to make sure he knew what to do and where to go (love those kids). I followed them into the endzone, along with the other parents from our school, listened as the high school band completely drowned out their voices, and then attempted to find The Boy again in the throng heading for the exit. I found him after a few panicked moments, and we headed toward the car, ignoring the comments of passersby, “You’re leaving?! Not staying for the game?!” as I thought to myself, “This isn’t our scene yet. We’ll come to the rainy, cold games in four years!”
The Boy was happy, grinning from ear to ear, just joyful to have been able to participate. “We sang the Star Spangled Banner!” That smile and excitement made the previous hours worth it, and that’s why I will continue to roll the dice each time this happens.