i was driving home during the wee hours of the morning after working last week. i had just finished working three nights in a row, which had left me pretty worn. i wanted to shower, throw on clean clothes, and climb into bed next to my husband, who would leave for work only a few hours later. sometimes our weekends go like this. i work three nights while he takes care of chloe, allowing me to sleep during the day so that i can get up, spend a couple hours with them if i am lucky, and head back into work. the cycle continues until three in the morning. that morning that he will return to work, i will take care of chloe, and we do it all again in about five days or so. we squeeze in a day off together as a family once a week. sometimes he works an overtime shift, which means he is away for twenty-four long hours. and sometimes i pick up shifts that begin as soon as he returns home, leaving us maybe an hour to spend together between.

the time spent in between is crucial. it's a few minutes to talk about something that happened at work, or to give the report of what chlo ate, how she slept, if she had her vitamins already, if any snacks were accumulated that day and where they are hiding. or sometimes it is less than a minute to snuggle next to the other and plant a kiss on the back of their neck before falling asleep, knowing that you are going to be too tired to remember them kissing you goodbye when they leave for work in the morning.

every so often we decide that i won't pick up any time while he is off, and he won't take any overtime, and we will spend a few days together with chlo. before we had a little one i used to schedule myself to work many of the days he did, so that we could spend our days off together. we would sleep in until noon. get up and go about doing whatever we liked. we stayed up as long as we liked and drank a beer or two with our dinner. nowadays we wake up early, figure out something to do together that will entertain chloe and sometimes ourselves, sometimes we nap when chloe naps, and more often than not we even go to bed early. sometimes we grab a six pack and it usually lives in our fridge for weeks, or even months. and sleeping in bed at the same time together, it is so rare and special, sometimes it just feels so lovely and awkward, like when you first start sharing a bed.

while i was driving home sports talk radio was on. i am not sure who the host was, but he was taking phone calls about the phillies. a man called up, a security guard who must listen to the show while sitting watch at his job, and he started talking about how you can't let one game get you down. i guess the phillies had blown a game earlier that night. he explained that you needed to think about all the games before, and the games to come, and keep perspective. i don't think the phillies have had a particularly good season, but i don't keep up very well... my husband will attest to this. just last night he was watching the all star game, and i asked him which team he was rooting for. he looked at me, and answered "the one the phillies are on". i then asked, (of course), "which one is that?". it was as though he was waiting for me to ask it. he grinned and asked "which one do you think it is?". i smiled back. he needs to tell me every year. i know that every year i ask, and every year he needs to tell me if the phillies are in the american league or the national league. because, it really doesn't matter unless you are watching the all star game. even when it comes to the world series, it's one team against the other... if the phillies haven't made it then i don't have too great of an interest.

but, anyway. what got me thinking, and has been stuck in my mind ever since, was the host's response. he argued against what the security guard caller said. he argued that to be a fan meant that you "live and die by every game". that each win and loss was felt deeply by a true fan. that disappointment, excitement, victory, and failure not only involved the members of the team, or the owners of the team, but also deeply involved the fans, at least the true fans. he said that what he loved about his job was talking to these fans, these fanatical individuals who call the station to vent their frustrations with a loss, or to express their joy after a victory. although i am not a huge sports fan, i found myself thinking about what the host was saying, and really taking to heart in a way i wouldn't think that i ever could, sports radio. 

but i am not a baseball, football, basketball, football, or any other type of sports fan. i like going to games occasionally - they are crazy fun when you live in a big sports town such as philly, but i don't really follow any of the teams or players. i like sports, but just never have gotten into them enough to really be able to call myself a fan of them.

what i am a fan of? a true fan of... my family. our little family of three. i think about what our goals are. our failures. our set-backs. what our victories have been... i think about how i proudly and cheerfully celebrate my daughter's achievements, and how i respond to our roughest days. i know that the reason my husband and i work like we do, don't get out as often as we may like, and often feel broke is because we are such dedicated fans to our little family, especially of chloe. sometimes i play a fan to my patients. i think about how satisfied and affirmed i feel when i see one of them getting better, and the defeat and fear of loss that i feel when they deteriorate. i would say i am a fan of my husband. sometimes i think i talk about him and chlo too much... i can't help it. they are my favorites. i think about how our days can be broken down into wins and losses. i think about my family and friends... and what it means to celebrate and grieve together. it is not easy to be invested so deeply in so many people. is is somewhat exhausting to even think about. it's probably one of the reasons i have few close friends.

i try to avoid getting into relationships which involve another person with a lot of highs and lows. the girl at work who breaks up with her boyfriend every other week. the acquaintance with baby daddy or mama drama. anyone whose phone is always blowing up. i know it sounds bad, but i just get too invested and cannot separate myself. i like my friends few, good, boring, and generally drama free.

and then there are even ideas and values i am a fan of. i think about passion, love that gives until it can't spare another drop, but then it finds a bit more to give. i think about conserving, about being responsible and grateful for what one has and making the very most of it. i think about perseverance, about keeping-on and doing it with grace and strength. i am a big fan of challenges, or well, overcoming challenges. actually i love kicking challenges in the ass. after i wrestle with them really good, they pound on me a bit, and almost crush me - then i kick them in the ass. i love watching other people overcome too. i love deep scars - not the physical ones, but the deeper ones that show a person has come so far and is still healing. oh these things make my stomach flutter, my throat warm, and i feel a tingle run from my feet up to my neck,  just a tiny one as i even think about them.  

i am a fan of early modern art, of music, of colors, and lights, and simple good things that help the world make more sense. buttons, zippers, white duvet covers, simple white sneakers, thrifted clothing, cast iron pans, men's deodorant, ikea, overalls shorts on toddlers, water, and coming-of-age stories.

and i know it sounds vain, but i am a fan of taking self-portraits with your phone. a good selfie is something to get excited about, right? and sometimes the bad ones are just too good to delete.

is this beginning to sound like a profile? a bizarre version of "my favorite things"?

as much as i get excited about these things, i vehemently hate things as well.. things like weird visual and tactile textures that turn my stomach. bark of trees can make me downright nauseous. bark-less trees! that's what i am talking about!

i know we need those people who can take it all into perspective. those fans who can look at a game and see it as a picture inside an even larger picture. i am happy they live amongst the fanatical fans like us. i am glad that i married someone who is one of these fans... whose excitement is hardly detectable. because being a fan, one of those passionate ones that live and die by every victory and failure is just as painful and exhausting as it is exhilarating.

yes, you steady fans who don't let a loss or two get you down, and who don't look at each victory as an end, but rather a means to it... you die-hards who keep a cool head we need you too. to tell us it will be okay. to calm us down. to listen to us vent. to put it into perspective for us. we need you, and i think you need us too. maybe you are the opposite of me, always looking for some good baby daddy/mama drama... we totally need you.

even if sports radio says otherwise.

and because i cannot think of any other way to end this post:



  1. Well done . A unique insight that encouraged me to be a fan of my wife and children. Cheer them on, revel in their success and find hope and good in the failures.

  2. This is such a good post. At first I was wondering where the sports idea on the radio would lead to, but I completely get your connection to being a fan of things. It's definitely a new way to look, I think I'm going to try and be more like this in future! Thanks for the wonderful read, I shall follow after I'm done writing :-)



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