Friday Night Lights

September 14, 2017

It’s Homecoming week. That means for over a month now, my kids have been begging to go to the big game Friday. Oh, and they’ve needed me to figure out a Mardi Gras costume, find crazy hats and 80’s style outfits for every crazy theme day this week. And their homecoming experience would be like so uncool if they didn’t have hair dye, because they can’t possibly show their school spirit without three shades of hair dye. And while I’m at it, maybe I could just drop them off at the parade but not stay because 9 and 12-year-olds apparently don’t need parental supervision?

Some moms love this stuff. Me? Not so much. I do my best to play along and not ruin their childhood in one fell homecoming week swoop, but ugh! Finding a parking space (probably two towns away), sitting alone in a huge crowd while serving as a human ATM for Skittles and popcorn is not my idea of Friday night fun. But I’ll take one for the team because that’s what moms do.

I was trying to remember if I was this Bah-Humbug the last time I parented a middle schooler (a decade ago!). I think I probably was. Then I remembered that my husband handled this stuff back then. He always volunteered to be a “bleacher Dad” and therefore I was spared.

Bleacher Dads were a team of Dads who stay in the middle school section of the bleachers with their official bleacher Dad hats on. Their job was to keep things under control and yell at other people’s kids when they acted out of line. That was pretty much his FAVORITE thing. Being on the lookout for loitering under the bleachers, kissing, spitting, swearing or putting gum under the seats was fun for him. He was in his glory wearing a hat which proudly declared both his Dadness and his volunteer authority to reprimand misbehaving middle schoolers! Also, to be a little embarrassing was the cherry on top.

Me? Not so much. I’m sure it’ll be fine once we get there. I’m sure I’ll run into friends and chitchat through the game. I’m sure watching my kids enjoy the night while running around with their friends, oblivious to the actual football game will be totally worth it. But I’d rather stay home, have pajamas on by 7 p.m. and a movie on Netflix ready to play at 8. I’d also rather not spend $300 on Starburst and nachos, but motherhood calls. At least I don’t have to work the concession stand…yet.

What are your plans this weekend? Are you a homebody like me? Or do you enjoy going out and about where all the people are?

I think this year feels better than last year though. So that’s a win. Read about my Homecoming experience last year HERE.

If I get really bored I might tweet my way through the game. You can follow me on Twitter to see how my night is going. @extra_grace it’s going to be an #extragracerequired kind of night I think.

Have a great weekend, friends! Go team!

Extra Grace,

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  • Reply Ruth Ellis September 14, 2017 at 9:38 am

    My husband died when my daughter was 15. She was in high school drill team and we didnt miss a game, not even the week he died. Sitting in the bleachers without him was ONE of my worst experiences. But i made it through 3 more years of Friday night lights and it did get better. I had friends that knew I struggled and always made a point to sit with me. They shared my burden!

  • Reply Debbie Canavan September 14, 2017 at 11:54 am

    “Whatever it is you wish you could avoid this week, I encourage you to face it. Let’s be brave together. We can do this – one uncomfortable, happy, family-filled event at a time.”

    Let your own words inspire you–they are truly words from His heart, straight to yours. And hey, we need to stop thinking of ourselves as pathetic third wheels people don’t really want to have around. If our husbands were with us we’d sit confidently with these same people and think nothing of it. What does that say about the hit our self-confidence has taken…our view of ourselves in the world? Believe me, I am talking to my own self right now, too.

    I think if you can arrange to be with someone, it will help your brain not to be so focused on all that’s hard about crowds; I agree–it is the worst kind of alone.

    Ready, Set Go, brave momma!

  • Reply Diane Claude September 14, 2017 at 3:40 pm


    I have to say I admire you for your truth and honesty about the football weekends. But I have to say, I love them. The game, the popcorn, the cooler weather and snuggling under a blanket to stay warm. This year the boys are both in the high school band and I wouldn’t miss a performance. And that includes this Friday Night Football game!!! Plus the all day Car Wash-a-thon on Saturday. I guess that makes me a “Band Geek Mom”. Yes, that mom. the one that’s at everything. I enjoy watching them grow and learn from each other. I remember my dad being at every game and there was some satisfaction maybe honor or confidence I gained knowing he was there. Sitting in the bleachers with the other dads caring enough to watch over me and my friends. So, I hope, in some little way, I’m passing that on to my kids and their friends. So please, take a moment to remember to view the night through your kids eyes. Who knows – you may even have fun!

  • Reply Joy Brumback September 14, 2017 at 7:36 pm

    I had a different “alone” experience today. My husband and I pastored a church for 34 years and of course, I had to leave when he died one year ago. I also hold credentials and was expected to attend the annual fall council gathering of about 100 nearby churches. It is held at different churches each time, but today was at “our” church. You can’t imagine the dread I felt and for weeks have asked myself, “Do I go and face my fears (so scared I would cry) or stay home and wonder about the comments regarding my absence.” Every time I have gone back I see my husband “everywhere”. I went, but cried a bit in the parking lot before I entered the building. Lots of church members were there preparing the lunch and of course, they were thrilled to see me. You might not understand, but that adds to my pain. Just before service started, a female friend arrived without her husband and invited me to sit with her. Otherwise I would have been on my own. How do you go to a place where your life was so entwined and pretend that you are a visitor? I read your account of last year’s football game, Jodi, and laughed at loud at your description of the neon sign screaming “Widow!” That is EXACTLY what I have been saying it feels like. My description was a banner across my chest that read “Widow”, but it is certainly is the same feeling we have when attending public events. You are so good with words, Jodi. I appreciate you and your bravery to write your feelings.

  • Reply Shirley Shelbourn September 21, 2017 at 6:59 pm

    You are so on with the newly widowed thing. I hated to even go to the grocery store in our small town.

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