Seven days ago on March 19th a few steps were taken back in time down the carpeted stairs of my red brick home. There, below the main level slept a spare bedroom with a nondescript bathroom. Together, they waited all cozy and warm for March Madness to begin.
A buzz was in the air, much like you see and feel during holidays minus decorations everywhere. Our big television was ablaze in all its LCD glory! Red, white, royal blue and emerald-green uniforms waited for imaginary cheerleaders to jump out of their metal chairs. To the left, a natural wicker table was set for a boys day of play. On top, colorful bowls and baskets overflowed with taco chips, salsa dips, chicken wings and candy in case of low blood sugar attacks.
Ding-Ding! What was that I heard? ‘Doodle’ dog barking at the leaded glass door up above. Running to open it, there he stood. My oldest son, Jay, who took time off from work in order to watch basketball with his brother and father. It had been a long-standing tradition in our small family for years and years. Ever since the boys were very young like my husband had once been too.
In bounced my son’s service dog, Nimbus, his jet black tail knocking everything off tables before I had time to get to them. Nothing mattered. How glad I was to see them both! Doodles jumped up and down with kisses of, “Hello.” The two dogs rolled on the floor then chased each other all over the house. Soon, the lab’s master firmly commanded, “PLACE!”
Minutes later, my youngest son popped over, jovial with a bear hug for his mama. Warmth through and through. A few minutes later my husband arrived home from his trip on the road, delighted to see his two sons already waiting for him. So thrilled he was at the prospect of tradition. Basketball together with March Madness plus so much more.
Jay and his dog were spending the night. Too late to drive home after games played into overtime, he planned to sleep in a room that had once been his own. How kind of his wife to extend this special gift to her husband. Bonding time with his father and brother like no other. Rare in these days of work that included varied shifts of hours never known. Days and nights of travel, duplicate families, little children and babies of all ages. Yes, grown-up lives….
And, an enormous “Thank You,” to my youngest son’s wife for holding down the fort all by herself with three babies at home. Yes, three. T.H.R.E.E! Twins girls who are three months old plus a 17 month old daughter scattering every which way! Such a gift to us all, but especially to my husband who rarely has such special time with both of his sons together.
March Madness. Yes it’s about basketball, but in our house it’s so much more. When I hear those two words, “March Madness,” it’s not a brown ball tossed through a hoop of white rope that comes to mind.
No, to me March Madness is all about tradition. The tradition of family. Bonding over munchies set on an old table of wicker. Screaming faces in front of a screen that doesn’t respond. Brackets, favorites, cheering and choosing. Stomping feet, tossing heads in disbelief or smiling faces slapping high-fives! Balancing paper plates on laps of sweat pants while taking notes with pencils of yellow. Wiping mouths with printed paper napkins or hopping up in the air to yell, “No Fair!”
And, in the end hugging Good Bye to a son and brother in the dark of night.