Friday, September 16, 2016
Images of a Tailgate and Football Saturday
The Panthers' first home game last weekend was a full day of all good things for all of us. (Despite the outcome of the game at the end of the night).
When these two were babies and toddlers, it was all I could do to even make it through a full game at the Dome by myself. With Cody working in the press box every game, I would pack as many portable games, coloring books, toys and snacks as I could fit and sneak into our UNI bag and just hope that I wasn't ready to pull my hair out by the end of the 3rd quarter. In fact, when Jaden was really small, we went a whole football season barely making it through the first quarter, as he was terrified of all the noises, and the team running out of the garage door to the sound of that loud Panther growl about did him in before the game even started. As he got older, he went through a season where he only cared about the marching band and when they weren't on the field, he was ready to call it a day. And as Brandon grew, well - he just wanted the ice cream. I learned to cut a deal with him - a piece of pizza or a hot dog in the first half. Ice cream in the second half. Yes, I bribed him, but it worked most of the time and allowed me to stay connected with what I grew up doing and still love to this day.
But now - they're "of age." And we not only can make it through a whole game easily, but we get to tailgate beforehand, too! It's almost funny how much Brandon in particular was looking forward to tailgating this past weekend. This boy of mine is so much like me - always up for a new seasonal adventure, to carry out a tradition, to celebrate - no matter what we're celebrating.
We woke up Saturday morning to marshmallow clouds, a perfect blue sky above us and low-70's. So in other words, perfect September football weather. It was a little breezy, but it fit, as it reminded us that the seasons are shifting and Fall is approaching. Everything felt as it should for our first football Saturday, and spirits were high.
We spent Saturday morning running errands - Scheels and HyVee for all the fixings of our tailgate. The Graham's and the Larimer's met us at our prized parking spot early afternoon, and we had three hours to enjoy the festivities before kickoff. We fired up the grill for hot dogs, ate our fair share of cookies and purple and yellow frosted cupcakes, and drank purple juice boxes and purple wine out of purple cups. The boys found other friends for games of football, Brandon had a field day with the bouncy houses and tackling dummies set up for all the kids in the tailgate areas, and I felt so happy to be back at the place that has always felt more like home to me than anywhere else.
This view - this is my spot. So many memories and relationships and special times here. A lifetime of them. And we're still going strong - still creating more. Raising our family to have the same cherished memories I have. With our friends and family alongside us. It was a really full, fun day.
Brandon spotted this football in Scheels and HAD to have it. I don't blame him. Pretty cool, buddy.
Win or lose. These will always be our colors.