Monday, October 15, 2012

Youngest Son meets his new niece

It's Fall Break at South Janesville College this week (that's the fake name I gave the real school that Youngest Son attends) and Youngest Son came home Friday... for a couple of days.

He's headed back to school this morning, after the morning rush subsides.

"I can get some hours in this week," he said when we asked why he wasn't planning on staying at home for the entire break. In English, that means he could get some hours in at his campus job -- which involves maintenance of the baseball field. "We're going to rebuild the mound and repair the batters' boxes," he told us when pressed for details. "And there's recruits coming in, too, and Coach wants me to show them around." (Youngest Son plays baseball, you'll recall.)

Youngest Son borrowed a frat brother's car to come visit, though; he was the only sibling who'd yet to see the new grandchild (two weeks old already).

Younger Daughter made sure her baby brother got time with the new baby. They both fussed. Then Youngest Son announced plans to go to the high school football game Friday night -- big conference game against a fearsome rival, he reminded us.

I didn't need much reminding. The school Youngest Son's alma mater was facing Friday night has produced a few pros and scores of D-1 college players since my kids began playing football. I remember, years ago, when Oldest Son was still a sophomore in high school, driving out to Joliet, the home of this other school, to try and catch some of the game and possibly bring the kid home.

Friday evening traffic being what it always is, I got there for the last few seconds of the sophomore game. The varsity -- the big kids -- were warming up. Big? I thought I was walking past statues on Easter Island, only these statues were solid muscle -- sides of beef in shoulder pads -- and doing calisthenics. And the fans were out in the stadium parking lot... tailgating. Our kids may have, technically, played in the same conference, but not in the same league, if you catch my drift.

So Friday night, I saw Youngest Son long enough to exchange pleasantries (you need a shave, boy, that is the ugliest facial hair I've ever seen) and then he was gone.

Fridays being what they are, I fell asleep in my chair soon after. I woke up when I heard the screaming.

My wife couldn't help herself. She'd been grading papers the entire time, but the Cardinals comeback had finally claimed her full attention. The ninth inning of Game 5 of the Washington-St. Louis series brought out strong emotions even from those who had no rooting interest. I was conscious long enough to watch Washington's collapse. "They had two outs!" my wife said. "Two outs!"

I did notice, at one point, that the only noise in that packed Washington ballpark came from the Cardinal dugout. Everyone else just stared, slack-jawed in disbelief. "You were snoring again," my wife added, changing the subject.

Somewhere in all this, we noticed that Youngest Son wasn't yet home. His game should have been long over. "Why don't you text him?" Long Suffering Spouse suggested. "Find out where he is."

Youngest Son responded to my text promptly. He was still at school, he said, talking to one of the baseball coaches. His old school had beat their rival -- "first time in 23 years!" Youngest Son enthused. He'd come home soon, he promised.

And he did eventually come home. We had a pleasant conversation -- but it took place on either side of 1:00am and my recollection of the details are fuzzy. And Long Suffering Spouse had a blood test at 7:30am. So we needed to retire for the evening, or what was left of it.

Surprisingly, Youngest Son went upstairs, too.

I went and tried to roust him out of bed next day around 1:15pm. He ate. Long Suffering Spouse and I had errands to run -- and out the door we went. When we returned, Youngest Son informed us of his plans for the evening: His brother had invited him over to a party at his apartment. This was sufficient incentive for the kid to shower, at least. When he came back, it was time for us to take him over to Middle Son's Wrigleyville bachelor pad.

Middle Son came out to meet us (Long Suffering Spouse rode shotgun with me). "Do you guys want to come up for awhile?" he asked politely. We begged off. He promised to bring his brother back on Sunday. "We'll save a couple of spots for you at 7:00am Mass," we told him. "You do that," he said.

Around 1:00pm Sunday I started texting Youngest Son again. "Are you alive?"

I got no response.

Long Suffering Spouse told me to try Middle Son instead. He did respond. "No, things are fine here," he texted back, but he did allow that his brother was having second thoughts about the wisdom of eating a leftover burrito a little while before.

Youngest Son was eventually returned sometime in the middle of the afternoon -- and he promptly announced plans to visit someone else that evening. At least he also smuggled our recycling over to Abuela's house for her Monday pickup (Chicago doesn't have a recycling program in our neighborhood, so we send ours across the suburban boundary -- someday, I'm sure, we will be ticketed for this: That suburb doesn't take just anybody's garbage, you know).

But Youngest Son did spend some time laying on the couch yesterday afternoon while his new niece lay in an infant chair beside the couch. Neither one of them was entirely awake. They both sort of looked at each other in a dull, uncomprehending way.

Quality bonding time, indeed.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Sounds about normal when talking college kids and babies. Even related