Paul's Heart

Life As A Dad, And A Survivor

A Different Kind Of Day

It is rare that I spend a day, an entire day, just relaxing.  In my house, my daughters often do not ask me what is planned for the weekend, but rather “are you working tomorrow?”  Last week saw me spend all weekend and an extra day with my daughters.  Today was spent with my father-in-law. 

I am a diehard Seattle Seahawk fan and have been for most of my football fanhistory.  But for today, I was rooting for the Philadelphia Eagles.  I was invited to attend the game today, and took my father-in-law, a huge Eagle fan.  It was a special day for a number of reasons, but today the NFL was recognizing the support for breast cancer, or as one vendor convinced me into purchasing my first pink hat because “I need to support Ta-ta’s”.  Of course, in a large crowd, I avoided what would have been a more typical response from me, “I love supporting Ta-ta’s.  In fact,  I would like to offer my services free of charge breast exams, called Manograms”.  But being outnumbered by such an inspired group, and also being a special guest, decided to make my donation to support Breast Cancer Research and move on.

The game was pretty much uneventful, just typical.  The offense struggles, fans boo, Eagles take the lead, everyone is happy.  The Eagles just have to seal the deal.  But you can hear and see it in the fans in attendance, it is not going to happen.  Disappointment will prevail.  You can feel it.  And so, with five minutes left in the game, the Eagles had, HAD a ten minute lead that they surrendered, and then regainded with currently three minutes left and when the clock ticked down to 0:00, a momentum shift occurred as the game went into overtime.  Shortly some time after, the fans are put out of their misery with a Lion field goal.  The majority of the people will be leaving unhappy, calling for Coach Reid’s head and so on.   Instead, for me, I begin to reflect the last six or seven hours gathered with family and friends. 

I do not get to see my friend Ginny often.  We both have children who were adopted from the same orphanage in China and stay in touch with each other as the majority of the other travel families we adopted with.  It was extremely loud in the box which should be expected for a football game.  We did get to chat a little bit, but as host, she had other guests to entertain, while trying to watch the game.

My father-in-law seemed to enjoy himself too.  I am sure however, that we were both thinking the same thing, still grieving the loss of our in-law Mike, definitely gone too soon.  It was usually Mike and I that did things with each other, so this was a bit of a different situation.  I feel bad for my father-in-law as he really misses him.  Unfortunately, I do not have a lot in common with him, but on the other hand, have a lot I can learn from him.  My father-in-law has tons of knowledge of carpentry and building, though we have attempted a couple of projects together in the past, and let’s just say there is a reason no when ever sees me swinging a hammer or with a paint brush in my hands.  But he knows that he can count on me, and that I will help him with whatever he asks.  After all, I took Wendy off his hands for him.

But Mike had so many great qualities in him.  My father-in-law and I were reminded this afternoon of one particular skill that Mike possessed as we left the Eagles game.  Mike was an awesome navigator.  Riding with Mike driving was often described as taking a ride on “Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride”.  But Mike knew how to get around large metropolitan areas, especially once of the main drags.  As we pulled out of the parking lot, the anxiety of the traffic that we expected to sit in on I95 with 60,000 fans leaving the game at one time, my father-in-law quickly mentioned how great it wouldhave been that Mike would have been very handy with getting out of this potential mess.  And I agreed.  And it was that quickly that we hit the interstate, and ended up home forty minutes later, instead of two hours.  Thanks Mike.

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