Thursday, July 7, 2011

The 4th of July

In some respects I am a bad son.  My mom is very supportive of me, and I am not always very quick to show my gratitude.  My father and brother have both passed away, and I am the last remaining member of her immediate family.  As a retired Sergeant Major, she makes a good living on her pension, and she enjoys a high standard of living.  Often, she helps me out of jams when my spending exceeds my income, or when unexpected cost come along.  She does laundry for me at times, and cooks dinners for the both of us frequently.  Mom's back and knees are bad after 24 years of trying to max out her PT scores, and outperforming soldiers younger than her.  She spends the majority of her time cleaning the house and following the Braves rabbidly, while playing with her two Shiz-tzus, Rosie Joyce and Frodo Baggins.  I realize that I seldom show my appreciation for my mom, so when she asks me to go somewhere with her, I seldom refuse.  It's not much, but it is the way we function as a family, and it has worked so far. 

So it comes as no surprise that I said yes to an invitation to see the 4th of July Braves game with her, despite already having plans with my other family at work.  I spend most 4th of Julys with my friend Jeri and her family in the parking lot at Big10 tires in Woodstock watching fireworks and enjoying each other's company.  Mom always has an invite, but she's not much of a people person, and always declines.  Me and Jeri have a weird relationship, we're always on the verge of being something more, but we never take the plunge.  It takes alot to keep me from spending time with her, so it is a testament of the sacrifice I make in deference to my mom. 

Let me be clear, I love the Braves.  I grew up watching them, sitting at the top of Fulton County Stadium, eating popcorn, and enjoying the tickets my mom got for free from her unit when she was a recruiter for the Army.  As much as any sports team does, they have a warm place in my heart.  I simply try to avoid the stadium nowadays, the seats are uncomfortable, the food and drinks are outrageous, the lines are long, and the bathrooms are like Dante's nineth circle of hell. 

I have to admit it was begrudgingly that I went this 4th of July, I did it for mom, because she deserved it.  So, I took her out to Red Lobster, it is our failsafe restaurant, and we headed to the stadium early.  We got to the parking lot, and found our way through the myriad tailgaters and mismatched SUV's with the sounds of 20 radio stations and MP3 players mixing to form a cacophany of noise, which I liken to what a murder victim must sound like being skinned alive.  After dodging the requisite homeless person, we made our way through the gates and got to our seats. 

Atlanta.Braves.    4th of July
Normally, we alternate days as the DD when we go to the stadium.  If it's her day, I can drink as much as I want, and if it's my day, vice versa.  It was her day, but seeing as I worked at 8am, I told her to enjoy herself, and she could DD the next time.  Mom grabbed two beers to avoid the line and I grabbed a Coke for a price that could feed three third world children for a week.  The game progressed as games do, and we won against a sleepy pitching staff, and a weak offensive batting order.  The fireworks began and we stared in wonder at the bursts of light off of the sky to the poor choice of Bruce Springstein's Born in the USA.  Ladies and Gentlemen, this song is not patriotic, but don't tell the Braves media manager that. 

As the night progressed, we walked a tired walk to the truck in the rain, and we made our way home.  Not only was her night made, but I got to watch a few moments that day where my mom had a smile from ear to ear and she exuded giddiness.  I knew that if I had gone with Jeri, I would have had a better time, but I'm glad I went anyway.  Me and mom are often divided by a great gulf of distance, but as I begin my life anew in law school next summer, I can look back on such memories and feel just a little bit better about my balance in the ledger.

No comments:

Post a Comment