Our lives, now that we are parents, are pretty hectic. Two kids, two full time jobs, and a whole world of constant life admin. Should we tidy the spare room? Should we fix the dishwasher? When does the MOT run out?
I wrote a piece recently about how your concept of time changes as a parent, but seriously, at the moment the clock seems to be spinning faster than ever. We are so busy chasing up unfinished emails from work or coordinating school runs and packed lunches that it will be months before we realise how long it’s been since we made it out of the house, without children, just the two of us.
That is why I was delighted to accept Subway’s offer of tickets for the LA Rams v. Arizona Cardinals American Football International Series game in London on Sunday night.
It was almost 10 years ago (2008) when we attended our first London game (Chargers v Saints at Wembley).
2008 – aka Before Kids
2008?! Seems like it should be only yesterday and yet, in reality, we’d only been married a year, the idea of children was still something we laughed about and I was just a baby pilot in training, green and naïve as can be.
2017 – aka After Kids
Here we were now, 2017, parents, professionals, driving down the M40 on a dark Sunday night to repeat this once loved activity, a live NFL game. Well not EXACTLY the same activity:
We tailgated 4 hours before kickoff, one comically large Bud Light in each hand.
The babysitter arrived at 3pm (felt guilty asking her to arrive any earlier), we drove to the stadium and arrived 10mins before kickoff.
We had spend each Sunday evening lazing around watch every game of the season up to that point.
Two kids in full-time childcare means we’ve cancelled our Sky subscription, BBC catch-up is our only source of NFL news now. (Thank heavens for Chappers, Osi and J Bell)
We each wore a Chargers jersey and got our faces painted.
No new articles of clothing above the size of “4-Toddler” have entered our house in the past year so I wore a red hoodie because it looked remotely like a Cardinals top. My wife wore a Cardinals baseball cap we got for free for our son.
I thought I was impressing my wife with my ability to eat a MEGA burger, she happily paid more attention to her cheesy chips than me.
We both jumped for joy to realise there was a Subway van parked in front of the stadium. In the rush to prep for the babysitter we’d fed the kids but not ourselves. Nothing a good old foot long can’t fix!
We stayed until the final play, then tailgated some more and woke up at 11am the next day.
The Cardinals were getting killed so we bailed i1n the 4th Qtr and made it home by 10pm. Very proud of ourselves to have been out on a date and still be in bed before midnight. We were joined in that bed by a 4 year old at 5am.
Two wild nights…
Those might seem like very different experiences but they were equally great nights out. It was great because it gave us the valuable, and often over looked, time together. To remind ourselves that we are the same boy and girl from 2008, with the same interests and, crucially, enjoying each other’s company. It also served as a great recce for how suitable the NFL games are for young kids. I have to say I was impressed, I’d have no problem bringing my 4 year old as the crowd was fun and respectful. Far cry from my experiences with English football games. Granted I’m not sure he’d sit through 3 hours of action at the moment but in the future look out for the “What an NFL game is like WITH kids” post!
Yes, 2017 us might have a whole lot more responsibilities and our titles might be more commonly Mama and Dada than our actual names, but our characters haven’t left us, our identities remain.
Sometimes being forced to adult all the time can make us question those identities. Sunday night reminded us how important a little personal refresh can be.
Thanks to Subway UK for the tickets.