Today is Patriots’ Day in Massachusetts. This is normally my favorite holiday. My feelings about Patriots’ Day are probably pretty close to what a six-year old feels about Christmas. I wake up in the morning and can’t wait for the festivities to begin. The Boston Marathon occurs on this day, and despite the fact that I hate crowds, tourists, and noise, there is a palpable excitement in the air that makes me so proud to live in this city. Our favorite part, however, is the 11 am Sox game, and attending it with another couple each year has become a tradition.
When I first got pregnant with Jillian, Dave and I realized at one point that her due date would probably make attending this year’s game difficult, if not impossible (for at least me, but he wasn’t too keen on going without me). After Jillian died, we realized that logistically, attending the game would be simple. We both realized that emotionally, it would be difficult. Initially, we decided not to go, but had a change of heart upon realizing that today would be difficult either way – so we had to choose between sitting at home on the couch while our favorite events went on without us, or we could go to the game with our friends and try to have a good time. We decided to go, and while we had fun with our friends despite the miserable outcome, I had a lump in my throat the entire time.
I had been apprehensive about entering Fenway. The last time I was there, we were at a playoff game, and we spent a good chunk of time telling our still unknown-gendered baby how we couldn’t wait to bring him/her to games, and discussed how we couldn’t wait until the baby was old enough to understand that he/she was walking into the closest thing to a shrine that we have, and how much fun it would be to walk up the ramp with him/her and see his/her eyes light up upon seeing the green field and the Green Monster. Entering Fenway ended up being less difficult than I’d anticipated, but I felt a kick in the gut when I saw the scoreboard welcoming the newest fans to Red Sox Nation – complete with pictures of newborns from a nearby hospital.
I held myself together until the first of many foul balls headed our way. As the ball came down in the section next to ours, my mind flashed back to the moment when we discussed the foul ball we hoped to someday catch for our tiny fan, and I had to leave our seats. I walked out to the open area behind us and stood over the balcony, looking towards our neighborhood, with our former apartment building, where Jillian was conceived, in plain sight. I looked down on the jubilant crowd below us and wished that I could be one of those people – someone who could focus on the awful score and the number of beers I’d had, instead of having my mind occupied by the fact that Jillian is gone forever.
Dave and I had a good cry and made our way back to our seats. I spent the rest of the game thinking about her fist and mouth moving as I held her as she died, and I spent an entire inning reading my blog post about that moment over and over again with tears flooding the lenses of my sunglasses. The game seemed to be the shortest game I’ve ever been to, and I’m so thankful for that. Our friend joked in the bottom of the 9th about the greatest comeback in Red Sox history, but I’m selfishly glad it didn’t happen. It wouldn’t have fit into our day. I’m glad we went to the game, but I’m even more glad it’s over.