Monday, October 17, 2011

Hangin' with the Team

Every fall Lonny takes our boys to Champaign for an Illinois football game. I usually stay behind with a little one. We pick apples. Take walks. And by evening, I can hunker down in a hushed house, sleeping child curled on my lap, and delve into a good book.

This year the boys pressed me to go along.

“C’mon, Mom,” Samuel said. “It’ll be fun. And Logan will be home. You have to come, too.”

I weighed the options. Logan hadn’t been home for a long time. And we had tickets for everyone. Zay was old enough. But then there was the quiet house. Focused time with one child, if Zay and I stayed behind. And the promise of a simple evening.

But Sam’s smile won me over.

“Sold,” I said. “Let’s find the blue and orange sweatshirts.”

So yesterday we piled into our van, windows plastered with homemade posters, Illinois flag suctioned to the windshield. As we left the drive, I peered out the window at the stillness of our house and hoped I’d made the right decision.

A few hours later, we arrived in Champaign and joined the blue-orange stream that flowed to the stadium. The boys walked fast and chatted faster, their smiles wide with anticipation and joy. We settled in our seats just as the game began.

And I had an amazing day.

The autumn sun rested on our shoulders. The boys cheered. Hollered. Shared popcorn. Danced a little. Enjoyed brotherhood a lot. And late in the game, our little one curled up on my lap.

I looked down my line-up of men, a great bench of boyhood, their daddy on the end, arm over the shoulder of one little son, and I was blessed.

There is a sweetness to these times. Family together. Hours shared. Memories carved and pressed deep in our hearts.

Thank you, God, for this afternoon. For the simple goodness of family.

I’m so glad I chose to hang with the team.

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