Ten years ago, I had the honor of writing DallasChild magazine’s very first “Mommy Diary.” My daughter Emily was a second-grader at the time. Today, she is a 17-year-old senior at Ursuline Academy and a four-year member of the Jesuit Rangerettes drill team. I live in Dallas with my husband Alberto, Emily and our two dogs, Cleo and Maya.
5:15AM Alarm goes off and I check to see if Emily is up yet. I try to gently wake her for Rangerette practice at 6:15.
5:30AM Albert gets up. We hear the dogs stirring in their crates, so they are let outside.
5:40AM Albert and I make breakfast and school lunch. I pull out a blueberry muffin and he makes Emily’s peanut butter sandwich. I can’t make it because it drives my allergies crazy.
5:45AM Emily shows up to breakfast half asleep. Tonight is the first football game of the season. Emily has half of a muffin along with a glass of water. Her favorite meal is breakfast, but because the team will be running a mile this morning, plus dancing on the field, she decides to skip the heavier meal.
6AM We’re scrambling to get out the door with Emily’s book bag, laptop, drill team bag, uniform, boots and hat for the football game, water bottle for practice, and school uniform and shoes to change into after practice. Emily gets into the driver’s seat of her car, with Albert in the passenger seat. Unfortunately she did not get a parking space assigned to her this year, so Albert will have to drive the car back.
6:25AM I decide to go back to bed until I hear from Emily after practice. Albert arrives home, has his coffee and gets ready for work.
7:45AM Emily texts me that practice is over and she and the girls in her ride are going to Starbucks. I hope she has money.
8AM I get up and have my breakfast, which includes the first Diet Coke of the day and a bagel. I grab a load of clothing from the dryer and light a vanilla candle. Today is going to be a long day.
9:45AM I check emails and texts from friends about plans for tonight’s football game. It’s going to be hot – expected 104 around game time. I asked Albert if he could run to Dick’s Sporting Goods and pick up a blue water jug for Emily.
10:35AM I collect the items that I will deliver to Emily after school. She has two Lil Sises that are new members on the drill team this year. Big Sis will be giving Lil Sis personally decorated water jugs. Emily painted two blue Igloo water jugs with their names in gold paint, added some gems and topped them off with a blue and gold hair bow. I put them into blue gift bags with yellow tissue paper. These will come in handy tonight!
11:30AM I start painting Emily’s water jug but keep getting distracted.
1:30PM Finished painting Emily’s name on the jug and hope it will dry enough before game time.
2PM Albert calls and tells me his day has gone crazy. He’s planning on being home early so we can be in the parking lot by 5pm. I run to the grocery store for snacks.
4:20PM I’m sitting in the parking lot with the new blue jug full of ice for Emily and the gift bags for the Lil Sises. I take her school bag, laptop and whatever else she wants to get rid of. I get my hug, tell her I love her and off she goes again.
4:30PM I’m home again and I change into my “blingy” Rangerettes shirt, a skort and flip-flops. I fill a water jug full of ice, and an ice chest with Diet Coke and water bottles. Albert brings home a bag of ice.
5:10PM Albert and I arrive to the Jesuit parking lot. We get a spot under a tree next to friends and pull out our lawn chairs. Tonight is a special dedication ceremony renaming the stadium. There will be food set up in the parking lot and games. Our Rangerettes will perform before the game as well. I am looking out for Rangerette parents, because I had previously taken headshots of the girls and made photo buttons for parents to wear.
6:30PM We hear that the girls are making their way out of the building and will be performing in a few minutes. I grab my camera and make my way to the front.
6:45PM The girls are standing at attention with big beautiful smiles and the music begins. There’s a large crowd gathered in the parking lot, watching as they dance, turn and leap into splits on the hot pavement. They do not miss a beat! Once they are finished, they march off still smiling. I notice that the once white boots and clean tights are scuffed and marked.
7:15PM I’m still looking for parents to give them their photo buttons. I love Friday night football games and, as many people have been reminding me, this is the last first game of the year. Emily is a senior and this is her fourth year as a Rangerette. I’m going to miss this. I stop by the stands where the girls will be sitting. Emily finds me and tells me that the ice I filled the jug with has not melted. She has a solid block of ice with no water. Whoops. Note to self: Put water in the jug.
7:30PM Game time. It’s 103 degrees. Jesuit is hosting a team from Philadelphia and I wonder how they are dealing with this heat. Albert and I take our seats, and we see friends all around us. We try to not to move so we don’t touch anyone else or get hotter. One of our good friends has a water bottle with a spritzer. I can feel my hair doing weird things with the humidity and heat, but I really don’t care.
8:50PM It’s halftime. I make my way down to the rail with my camera. I see the band taking their places and the music starts. The officers strut onto the field doing their high kicks, and the rest of the team joins in marching to their positions. The officers get introduced and do their jump splits as their names are called. The announcer continues by introducing the “Rangerettes of the Week,” usually one new member and one veteran member. I hear Emily’s name called as the “Veteran Rangerette of the Week” and I start to get teary-eyed. Such an honor and such a surprise! She raises her pom to the crowd and smiles from ear to ear. A parent standing behind me tells me, “Congratulations to Emily,” and asks me how I feel about this being the last first game. I tell him that we’re enjoying every minute of it.
10:44PM This game took a long time, and unfortunately Jesuit lost. The football team makes their way back to the field where we all sing the alma mater. The Rangerettes file down onto the field where they march out carrying everything from stadium seats and hat boxes to water jugs and duffle bags. We will look for Emily outside the stadium.
10:55PM Emily wants to grab a bite to eat with some friends after the game, so she’s on the phone trying to coordinate. Albert and I walk to our car, saying goodnight to our friends.
11:20PM Emily asks if she can drive to where her friends are, but we choose to drive her because she has not had her license very long. I’m happily surprised she’s OK with that.
11:40PM Albert and I are home alone. Still hot, very sweaty and enjoying a recap of the events of the day. My friends have been telling me for a while to start preparing for when she goes to college.
12:45AM Emily had a friend bring her home and now we’re running through the events of her day. She’s happy, smiling and exhausted. The swimming pool looks inviting right now, but I don’t like the thought of going outside again. We opt for showers and lights out. I’m running through tomorrow’s schedule in my head and remember Emily has a dance class and college applications to work on, but maybe we can sleep in a bit. I say goodnight to Albert and check on Emily. She is sound asleep. I kiss her cheek and, instead of seeing the beautiful young woman she is, I see the little girl who was in second grade just yesterday. I catch myself smiling a bit; I am truly blessed.
Published October 2013