Last night we went to a Timbers game. Turns out we were seated under the visitors section, where they had their cheerleaders. Soccer cheerleaders are not like football cheerleaders. No. These people carry drums, megaphones, flags and enough face paint to keep Noxema in business for years. Once our heartbeats synced up with the beating of the drums and we accepted that we were not going to have any lengthy discussions during the game, we settled in a bit to enjoy what we could.
There was a group sitting below us that was very entertaining to watch. Sometimes, I look around in a group and wonder, who here is a parent? Do we look like parents sitting amidst all these single, free people or do I just feel so much like one that I can't see beyond that? This group of cocktail drinking, post-game planning folks were definitely the former. For the second half of the game, we got a couple beers in hand, cheered loudly and enjoyed the sights.
Sometimes, it just takes a little longer to let go and relax when you don't have to be a parent for the evening. Shake off the feeling of always having to be prepared to fill a need, avert disaster, diffuse a tantrum. Knowing that you can close all your "parent eyes" around your head and just see what's in front of you. Throw out a cuss word and not worry that someone (who isn't supposed to) is going to repeat it. Be able to actually have a full conversation, with actual sentences and dialogue and a completed thought. Yes, going out is definitely a different experience after having a child.
Leaving the game, we were walking back to the train and a car turns the corner with this kid sticking his head and arms out, shout-singing, "we are family!" It made me smile but in a way, it's true. And riding on the Max I watched a group of Asian guys talking with an Hispanic family across from them. This is a pretty metropolitan area but still, it's always refreshing to see strangers and different cultures mix like that. It's a reminder that, no matter where you are on this world, we are all humans and, in a way, family.