It was rushed, exhausting, exhilarating, delightful, sneaky, and just fun. It was so hard not to breathe a peep for days. Not to even say, ohhhh might take a little road trip this weekend. Ooooh, Cal might take in a Phillies game this weekend. I told Cal we had to go Instagram-SILENT all weekend. Hard and exhilarating and totally fun.
Erin's lovely maid of honor and her family threw the sweetest shower ever, and I was honestly so, so touched to have been included. Beyond moved. It was a near thing for us if we'd make it at all, given Cal's baseball schedule, but as soon as we knew his weekend was free, we were off!
We made a weekend of it. My college friend, and one of the two attendants at my wedding, Jessica, lives in Philadelphia and we've been in and out of contact over the years. Mostly out. As in, it's been since Cal was in an infant carrier since we've seen each other! She's a stepmom now, and we got together with her and her better half for all too short a time at a local Starbucks where I'm sure we irritated the earbud-clad studiers with our boisterous retelling of old stories. Too short and must do again. Soon.
After that, onto Citizens Bank Park for the Phillie's game. I don't mind saying, I was of two minds about attending. Guys, I still don't feel well. All the same crap, and I was really hesitant to push on deep into the night. Honestly? An evening by myself in the bed in the hotel room sounded great. But Cal really, really wanted me to go, and I was pretty hyped after seeing my friend. So, I threw caution to the wind. You sit for the whole thing, right?
It was a good call.
We like to get there early so Cal can watch BP (batting practice, if you aren't baseball folk). I got a glimpse of my middle school baseball crush, Ryne Sandberg. He was 2nd baseman of the Cubs at the time. He's manager of the Phillies now. Cal was impressed that he helped pick up the balls after all the hitting was done. I was just school-girl tickled to see him. It was hot and the Nationals still had to bat, so Neel and I were ready to sit. Cal was not.
He stood with a crowd of fans along the first base line for over an hour. Just waiting. While literally nothing was happening. Texting me occasionally, but mostly patient. We tried to get him to come and sit or come and EAT (he is 14, after all), but no go. Finally, after the National Anthem, Neel and I headed to our seats with about two minutes to go until game time. I texted Cal to tell him where we were and looked down to see the bent head of a Phillies player surrounded by the crowd near where Cal had been standing. Someone was signing autographs!
Oh, only Ryan Howard, 1st baseman of the Phillies. Cal's favorite player. I uttered the best, most fervent prayer ever: ohpleaseohpleaseohpleaseohpleaseohpleaseohplease. I couldn't see Cal, only Ryan Howard's bent head. And I could barely see that, so I wasn't even completely sure it was Ryan Howard. And then, with the whole crowd facing forward, toward the field, my son emerged to turn up toward the stands, his eyes scanning for us, the biggest grin on his face. Thumbs up, waving his favorite Phillie's ball cap. He met Ryan Howard and got his cap signed. The team could lose, and they did, but the night was a win for him.
The next day was a win for me. Erin's shower was held at a crêperie in Philadelphia and she was absolutely and completely surprised. It was just the dearest thing. Of course the decor was be-Parised (see what I did there, like be-dazzled) with a beautiful Eiffel Tower banner hanging in the window (they left it for the owner of the restaurant and she was so thrilled) and a cardboard lamppost, which when we left was still standing in her living room. There were Paris pens and Paris bottle toppers as favors and Paris cupcake boxes. We filled out notecards with advice for the bride and groom, and cards with our memories of Erin. Everything was so lovely. The food was amazing, (I had a crêpe with turkey, feta, almond and apple.) and everything was so sweet and celebratory. I sat with just the loveliest group of Erin and Jeff's friends and felt so welcomed by them. Really, the loveliest was how surprised Erin was and how happy she was the whole time. The best part was that the cards we used to write our memories on were attached to our gifts, so she had to read them and guess who the gift was from. And the best gift? Sadly, not mine. It was an enameled tin bucked with all the makings for the cocktail French 75, from the gin and champagne to the mason jars and straws and napkins. Super adorable and super sweet. That gift was from two of her co-workers and came with the best memory too: "When I met Erin on my first day of work, I asked her what I was supposed to do all day. She answered: 'I just bought a camera and started a blog.'"
Sounds like our girl, doesn't it?
From Jessica to the smile on my boy's face to Erin. What gifts. Just to be there. My cup is full.