GO BIG RED

The first Husker game of the season. There is nothing better than fall in Nebraska. The weather, the start of school, and Husker anything! The city of Lincoln on a Husker football Saturday is transformed into a most amazing sight. A literal sea of red. The stadium is packed with 85,000 fans...probably 54,850 are NU fans, and there are still probably 20,000 more in and on the streets of Lincoln and in venues throughout the Lincoln/Omaha area watching the game. Crazy! I got to go to the game last night for the first time in a very long time it feels like. It it typically easier to stay home with the kids than it is to find care for them during the game. You can't help but develop Husker fever when you're in the midst of the excitement of the Big Red, and then, especially when the Tunnel Walk begins. There may not even be anything to describe what it feels like to hear that music, watch the amazing video complete with memorable game moments and then see those athletes proudly run into the stadium, being cheered on by all those fans! Proud is probably a good word...proud to be a Husker...a Nebraskan...a midwesterner. This is definitely a good description of the word "community", where thousands of people from all walks of life, all corners of the state, all ethnic backgrounds, political parties, social groups can come together for one exciting purpose and be on the same page...cheering for the red and white. (It's kind of sad too, that we can do that for football and not for even greater things!)

I had a couple of 'non-football' thoughts race through my head while at the game...I know...probably illegal to think of something other than football while at the game. I had left the house following a big lecture to my kids about how they don't take care of anything, respect anything, value anything enough to not destroy it. I had just vented to my mom for 15 minutes on the same topic and added that I don't know what to do short of beating them to get them to take me seriously and be afraid of what might happen if they don't do what they're told. I said that I didn't want them to have anything for Christmas...nothing, because they won't take care of it. This is mostly true. Now, there are things that they do take care of pretty well...the legos for instance. They play and play and play with those things, and for the most part, the bucket is still full. There are many times that I have to remind them to pick them up, and many times that lots of them are laying around to be swept up or eaten by the dog, but they don't take hammers to the pieces or anything. Yesterday I was feeling very much like i was fighting a losing battle...my big kids don't even set an example for the little ones. It is becoming progressively easier to keep the house picked up as we move furniture off of the main floor. Unfortuneately, without dressers, the clothes will eventually end up all over the floor...this isn't much different than now though. I want simple and clutter free, I just don't know if that's possible with nine of us living here. I was so upset, and really, really convinced that I don't ever want to give my kids anything again.

Then I got to the game and just wished that the kids could experience this...THEN the fly-over before the Tunnel Walk. At that point I wished with every part of me that they were there with us. Ben and Joe would have thought that was the coolest thing they'd ever seen. And THEN, watching those boys play on the big field under the big lights with the enormous crowd and all the cameras made me think of jakob. He wants to play for the Huskers some day, and I think that would be pretty awesome. At that point I realized that as mad as I get at my kids, I still want to give them the world...time, tangible objects, experiences, opportunities...everything. It all comes back down to what Tim always tells me: "Keep plugging away...keep teaching, keep giving, keep loving...it'll all be effective some day."

OK.

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