I’ve got a backlog of stories about festivals and crazy kids and how I apparently won artwork for an auction that I don’t remember bidding at, but all of that has to wait.
Because more pressing issues have surfaced in the Lancaster household that bear revealing. But first, I need to provide a bit of background.
During the winter that Jake was three, he measured 3′ 4″ tall. And weighed around 50lbs. That December, we had to prove his age at a Chinese buffet, because the woman behind the counter thought he was at least six. Luckily, I was carrying his shot record book, which has his birth date stamped inside it. All that to save $7.
Now, before Jake was even BORN, the LOML and I had conversations about what we hoped our child would accomplish and grow up to be — just like any other new parents. And after he was born, and as we began to realize how big he was going to be, the conversations always turned to sports. “He’ll DEFINITELY be tall enough to play basketball!” or “Holy CRAP this kid will make an awesome middle linebacker some day.” And then the LOML’s eyes would glaze over as he dreamed of his first-born son scoring a game winning touchdown in overtime for Notre Dame.
Anyway, later that week (after the Chinese restaurant visit, just before Christmas, 2006), Jake & I were standing in line at a video store. In front of us was a rather large black man in a track suit, who happened to be holding a baby carrier with a blanket over it to keep out the cold.
I leaned down to Jake and said, “Sweetie, look . . . there’s a baby under that blanket.”
And before I could stop him, he lunged for the carrier and pulled the blanket up.
The guy instinctively pulled the carrier toward him and turned around. Embarrassed, I said, “I am SO SORRY! I told him there was a baby under there and he took it as permission to look under the blanket. He’s only three . . .”
His response was to throw his head back, and say “THREE?!”
And before I could reply, he began to pat around at his chest in an attempt to find a pocket. When he didn’t find what he was looking for, he put the carrier down, reached for his wallet, pulled out a card and said, “Ma’am, I’m a youth football coach . . . could you please do me the biggest favor EVER and call me when this boy turns six?”
And I said, “Oh-KAY Jerry Macguire! Just because he’s a big kid doesn’t mean he’ll want to play.”
And he said, “Oh, I can get him to play . . .”
And I smiled and nodded and took the card.
When the guy was done checking out his DVDs, he turned to me and said, “I’m serious. You call me.”
We never called him.
But the LOML sure did get a thrill when I returned home and told him what happened. And he LOVES to tell that story. Because he always dreamed that Jake would play football, and it was validation that a football coach would look at his boy and deem him worthy enough to play AT AGE THREE.
Fast forward to last week, when the LOML gave in to years pressure he’d been receiving from a co-worker (who happens to be a Jr. Pee Wee Football Coach) and took Jake to watch a practice session.
He called me from the field and said, “Hon, you should see him! He looks GOOOOD.”
And I said, “What? I thought he was just going to watch!”
And he said, “I know, but he wanted to get out there and the O-Line coach was all, ‘Dude, your kid needs to PLAY,’ so, I let him run some drills.”
That was seven days, 729 conversations, and several hundred dollars ago.
Tonight, when the boys came home from the field, the LOML was carrying one of those big gear bags that football players use to hold their uniform and pads.
So it was official.
I’ve given birth to a Jr. Knight.
Please God, let me not turn into a maniacal football mother.