Falling in love again as the pain momentarily slips away.

My husband and I have been together 15 years, 16 in December.

Some months we are more roommates than romantic partners.

Other months we are more enemies than roommates.

But most months – we are partners in crime, partners in fun, partners in….chaos.

Oh and partners in parenting.

We bicker. We laugh. We experience.

We often find ourselves in ruts where we have a hard time breaking free of the boring everyday details.

But we also find ourselves in situations where we are reminded of why we fell in love in the first place.

My husband wasn’t really a football fan until we met. But in the past nearly 16 years – he has missed only a handful of Oregon Ducks game.

Wait…no…he watches the replays.

To say he is a Duck fan is the understatement of the century.

Pretty sure he only realized he had other non-Duck clothing just recently because we ran out of clean clothes and he had to go to the back of the closet.

Anyways…moving on.

As the football season returns year after year – I become a football widow and orphan every weekend.

Which I’m fine with. I end up focusing on one project or another. One year it was beading a purse for my daughter. Last year I focused on building my website.

But whether I pay attention to what’s happening on the field – I love being near my husband as he screams at the TV and boos at the refs while munching on our game day snacks.

I enjoy watching the game. But I enjoy watching people experience the game more.

My mom is a UofO alumnus. She got season tickets before the pandemic began for the 2020-2021 season.

Of course, it was canceled. And so were our tickets.

The excitement in my husband’s eyes dimmed a little. But he understood. We all understood.

Fast forward to this season and we were on the edge of our seats as we watched Delta ravage the nation.

Constantly wondering if the season would be canceled.

Constantly curious about what COVID precautions the stadium was going to take.

Constantly checking to make sure we had everything we needed to get in the gate.

This was going to be the first major event that we would be attending since the pandemic began.

We are both vaxxed. We are both careful. We both wear our masks with pride.

But still – the thought of being in a crowded space where 6ft of space is non-existent – made my heart beat so fast – it could propel the next space station…into space.

I am 82% feral.

I don’t know how to people anymore.

But really – my anxiety over catching COVID after 540 days of doing everything possible to NOT get it – made my legs weak.

To say I was scared to attend the game – is an understatement.

Hell – I brainstormed for weeks, all the way up to  11mins before the 6 am alarm went off on the morning of – to figure out how I could possibly get out of attending.

But every time I thought of an excuse – I watched my husband light up like a kid on Christmas morning whenever he talked about the plan for our big day.

Suddenly – all my excuses disappeared.

As the game played in front of us – I watched the many faces of my husband as he took it all in.

And I fell in love again. With the man I met nearly 16 years ago.

His unbridled excitement – reminded me of our first night together – as we tried to sleep in a tent, in East Portland – in the middle of December.

We were crazy kids then. And turns out – we are still crazy kids.

We may be parents and business owners and adults just trying to survive being a cog in the capitalist machine….but we are also humans trying to survive a pandemic – one step at a time.

I would be lying if I said this past year and a half hasn’t left an impact mentally. Because it has.

My best friend died last year and I haven’t been the same since.

She wasn’t a football fan. But she was a fan of the excitement.

As the Ducks kept scoring – I kept watching people around me.

Trying to decipher who could be a problem…and figuring out where my exits were.

But then I’d catch a glimpse of my husband excited that his chants helped distract our opponent. And all the pain of the past 18 months – momentarily slipped away.

Being consumed with fear of all the worse things that could possibly happen…is tiring.

But all the pain, the grief, the anger, the anxiety – the worry….all melted away after a stadium full of strangers came together to cheer for the same thing – our Ducks.

Slowly…the panic lessened to make way for me to fall in love all over again as the love I have for my husband – deepened.

Adventure on with Curiosity (until the next game folks)
~Kelly S.

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