Full disclosure: This post has nothing to do with Autism, for once. 🙂
I will say here what the #1 lesson is from my dads’ support group, as I’ve said many times before – you have to take “you” time now and again, as the parent of a special-needs child, or you’re going to go insane.
I posted on Friday that the wife and I were going to Pittsburgh for the weekend. We’re back, safely, from our visit to Steel City, having brought the Ravens good luck in their AFC Wild Card game. (In fairness… the Ravens have yet to lose when I’m in attendance, so there. :p) The kids seem to have had a fantastic time with their aunt, uncle and cousin, who were kind enough to come watch them so the wife and I could get away.
So the drive there was a bit fraught with hazard due to the weather – a steady, cold rain fell all day, and the route from Baltimore to Pittsburgh was very foggy and slippery. We took my car – no reason to take the minivan without the kids – and drove the about-four hours in time to get the car parked and to catch the T from downtown to the stadium.
Heinz Field is an interesting stadium to visit. I do love how there’s a live band playing on a stage down between gates A and B on the lower level, and how the team has all 6 Lombardi trophies displayed. (This is not really a review of Heinz Field for the blog’s purposes, but if enough folks ask… I did take enough of a glance around to be able to give my opinion as the parent of a special-needs child, and not just as a forty-something who was there to enjoy a ballgame.) The food selection was reasonable – my wife and I sampled the Primanti Bros. stand – and while the beer lacked something to my tastes, it was sufficient for me to enjoy the game. (Said, of course, my BiL was enjoying the sack of my beer fridge. Don’t ever say I don’t reward folks who watch my kids with a lackluster beer fridge.)
This was my first time ever going to a game as a visiting fan. I had images for most of my drive to Pittsburgh of having to sit in the middle of a sea of black-and-yellow, but… as we got up to our seats (waaaay up in the corner of the endzone as you can see), there was a sea of black-and-purple waiting for us. Yes, indeed, Ravens Nation was in the house. And that made a huge difference, having folks around us who were going to be rooting the same way as us.
The expected rain really never came. It was cool-but-not-cold for most of the evening, with occasional drizzles, and a few folks around us got rowdy. The game was close and fantastic, and for the most part, even the Steelers fans in the crowd around us were really wonderful to deal with.
Of course, the late game also meant we didn’t make it back to our hotel in New Stanton until about 1:15 in the morning. Ugh. Talk about being glad that we didn’t have the kids with us. (Could have never done this with the kids, to be honest.)
Not that, of course, it’s like taking a week off, but these little breaks in the middle of the year help more than I can tell. And I do so much appreciate my SiL and BiL for being there to cover for us so we could do it.