A bonding moment

learn priorities
a lesson of parenthood
except for football

There are a lot of sacrifices I make for my children, but when it comes to the annual Texas-OU game, it is well known in this house that no one is allowed to speak to or otherwise engage me in conversation unless it is to yell "Go Horns!" at appropriate times. Mama is not to be bothered. At all.

Today, though, I left the house at halftime to go to the NICU to feed Ike-a-saurus. I admit to staying in the car until the last possible second so that I could hear the beginning of the third quarter. And I admit having set the TiVo to record the game – and threatening everyone that wrath of unknowable proportions would set in if the TV was touched or otherwise altered from how I left it.

But I left it.

I turned off my phone so that I wouldn’t get any texts or emails or voicemails that would ruin the final score. I had every plan to feed Ike-a-saurus and make it home without learning how the game ended. My plan was to create my own little time machine: pause the game, sneak around and get some important stuff done, and unpause, voila. Then I was going to settle in, eat some junk food and watch it all unfold as if it were happening live.

On my way up to the 8th floor, though, after passing a scant number of hastily moving, excitedly chattering orange-clad folks, I remembered, wait… I live in Texas. In the city of the Horns. What am I thinking? There’s no WAY I’ll make it home without finding out anything about the game. And sure enough, as soon as I walked into the NICU, the nurses were in a frenzy. The ones on their break would run in and report the score to the ones who were working. Parents would come in with updates from the waiting room. Moms who I haven’t seen smile in weeks were broadly grinning and trash talking with other moms.

There was a brief attempt to engage Bay 5’s laptop to stream the radio broadcast of the game, but the nurses were busy with the babies and the mamas were busy with the babies, so we became dependent on the game messengers who would appear after each score.

It’s been almost 7 weeks that we’ve been in the NICU now and I know the nurses pretty well. They know me. But today, we got to know a little more about each other personally, and it was kind of fun. It settled me down with my rigid, panicky football game rules. I was able to relax with Ike-a-saurus, take my time with him, and not worry about knowing the final score of the game.

And the nurses, though noisier and sillier than usual, would leave me in mid-sentence to run see to an alarm, to feed a baby, or to change a diaper. They were not distracted, but they were having fun. This is something I have to learn to do.

It was a fun couple of hours – not something you can always say about a NICU visit – and I still came home and watched the game. Hopefully, in the next few weeks I’ll be able to watch the games with Ike. Finally, another family member to try to recruit to my side.

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