There is something about the summer, particularly the summers of childhood, that evokes a kind of magic that is hard to reclaim during the other seasons of your life. And there are some classic summer activities that are intimately tied to this feeling in a special way. You know the ones.
I was recently approached by Fanatics. com to submit this post to their “Family Fanatics” initiative, challenging bloggers to highlight how sports has impacted their family. Fanatics is a leading retailer of sports memorabilia and apparel, with a huge selection of MLB hats and jerseys. As you can see, Nolan is rocking his sports gear, so I decided it was a good fit.
Disclaimer: this is mainly a photo story. The mama-razzi has been out in full force the past few days, because not only did I want to get good photos of Nolan at his first Fenway Park outing, but ALSO we had some very attractive blond children (more on that below) staying with us, and as the mother of a swarthy little boy it was nice to have such an “Aryan” look around us for the sake of juxtaposition.
The past 24 hours have been a bit of a whirlwind for young Nolie. As you know, he has really been getting jazzed up for play dates as of late. And what’s better than a play date? That’s right, it’s the American classic, the sleepover. And what’s better than a sleepover? An afternoon at Fenway Park. Nolan had the great good fortune to join two of his friends, Jack and Kate, for both of these activities!
Before you get too excited, it wasn’t these two who were visiting:
Nolan has never seen “Lost” on account of the fact that the show ended before he was born, and also on account of the fact that for me to go back to the beginning of the series and try to explain to him what the hell was going on would be next to impossible. Mostly because I hardly know what was going on myself, despite watching the show for years and then reading about what others suspected was going on online. It would also be hard to watch with Nolan because he doesn’t know any words yet. But I digress.
Anyway, it was better than that Jack and Kate. Instead it was this Jack and Kate:
Jack and Kate (and their parents Emily and James) were visiting from Maine (which, yes, I know what you’re thinking – if they’re from “Vacationland” why would they ever leave?). As soon as they got to town everyone decided to go to the park. It was our only hope to pretend that Massachusetts was also, in its own way “Vacationland,” and not just the land of Massholes with indecipherable accents.
Nolan was understandably nervous. He doesn’t typically thrive at the park, I think mainly because he finds that the swings chafe his thighs. But as you can see here, Jack and Kate were having such a complete and total blast on the swings that Nolan felt he wanted to participate. Which he did, by straddling a leg and pretending to do the Titanic pose. Oh Nolie. Your arms need to extend much wider to be believable.
Eventually I convinced him that his thighs would be fine with a little post-playground lubricant, and that he should join the fun. He agreed but only if he could share a seat with Kate. Slick move Nolie.
Nolan is a little embarrassed to admit this, but he actually weighs three pounds more than Kate, who is 10 months older than him. Kate tried to flatter him by telling him it’s because he’s muscular, but we all knew that was a lie. We still smiled and agreed with her though. No need to be rude.
The morning after our sleepover we hit the coffee shop, so that we would be sufficiently alert for the Sox game. Jack wanted me to catch him in this lighting because wouldn’t you want that if your hair picked up the sun like this?
The kids prepped for the game by, well, doing absolutely nothing. I put that themed outfit on Nolan, and he certainly didn’t buy himself that hat. Come to think of it, I didn’t buy him that hat either. Who knows where his clothes come from, really. Kate was going for more of a “summery” look than a “sports fan” look. As you can see, she nailed it.
Our first stop in Boston was supposed to be the Children’s Museum. Nolan and I drove around for almost an hour looking for parking, because there was no way I was paying $28 for a parking garage. Hell no. Nolan decided this was a good time to nap, and I too decided that it was a good time to nap, but thought better of it because I’ve heard it’s illegal, or at least socially frowned upon, to take naps while you’re driving. So instead I circled the block 8,000 times and then aborted my mission and just went right to Fenway. Jack enjoyed the museum and Nolan enjoyed being unconscious. I’m sure you were lovely and informative, Children’s Museum.
This was the first thing I saw at Kenmore Square, and it thrilled me. Sure it’s a little porny, but what can you do?
And then….Summer magic. The oldest park in Major League Baseball, and a shrine to many.
I’m not totally sure Nolan understood that he was in a shrine, because he spent the bulk of his visit trying to eat my face. Oh yeah, and he also spent time trying to understand why James had hair on his face.
Once Nolan was satisfied that James was in fact a human and not an exotic mountain animal, he was able to focus more on the game. Go Sox! He chanted. Go Sox!
I knew I made the right decision when Nolan fell asleep in his carrier the second we left the ballpark. He slept the entire ride home like a little lamb. And then, adorably, he decided to stay up partying late into the night. But could I blame him? Not really. He just experienced one of the wonders of boyhood, and I’m pretty sure his brain was exploding from the thrill.