Sundays. Homemade freshly ground black coffee, a warming soulful fire and two newspapers waiting for me. Rising early, a little music in the background, my partner sitting next to me on the couch opening the local paper first to catch up on what is going on in our little state of Rhode Island. I sit here this morning writing with so many choices in my morning and feel fortunate and at peace. There is something so snug about this calmness; it is a life nugget that is not always present- or maybe it is, but I don’t always isolate it as a special moment.

Today I notice. I only have forty five minutes before I have to get up from this couch to go to my 8:00am workout. I love my Sunday am workout with my crazy trainer and friend, Kathy; she has some nutty workout concocted. The goal of the group is to together burn 10,000 calories in this hour and fifteen minute class in our Patriots gear with head banging music screaming out of the speakers. I frankly can’t believe that this is part of who I am now, but as much as I love sitting on the couch, it will be waiting for me after the class with a much better feel under my body. I love sitting on the couch on a cold wintry Sunday of the morning of the Superbowl after a workout with nothing planned except writing, reading my new book from the library and getting ready to open the New York Times. I also have my ingredients ready to go to cook my contribution for an impromptu Superbowl gathering at my friend’s house tonight.

The Patriots playing in the Superbowl brings up some great memories for me from my former life. Well before we had our son, Dave and I actually went to the Superbowl in Atlanta, well before Atlanta was referred to as “Hotlanta.” The game was from the 1993 season, Buffalo Bills and the Dallas Cowboys and we were going with my friend and his wife who had gotten us tickets. Back then they were six hundred dollars a piece, no chump change for sure. This was when the Superbowl was still in January before the marketers got a hold of it realizing that one extra week would mean extra dineros. We were still newly married just celebrating our three year anniversary.

This was BEFORE. Marriage and Life are like this- so many BEFORES, time stamping our lives. Before we had our son, before we even were thinking of having children, before my brother was diagnosed or even had any indications that there would be a diagnosis. We had just bought our first home in the summer of 1992 so taking a trip like this was a splurge, but it fulfilled a dream for my former husband. I was that new young wife filled with the hopes and desires to live a rich wedded bliss so this was an exciting trip for us.

I remember thinking of the opportunity in Atlanta back then. There wasn’t even a bagel shop anywhere to be found. Atlanta was just getting ready for the summer Olympics in 1996 and there was an ‘up and coming’ not yet realized buzz in the hot Georgia air. Dave and I loved it so much, we were actually considering moving there. We had a realtor and everything picked out and were ready to dive in with our first big wedded risk until I remembered upon my return that there was no water to speak of, no ocean. Funny how I forgot about the missing ocean while I was traipsing around the streets of Atlanta. This Pisces chick couldn’t imagine my life without a fifteen minute ride to any beach so I caved in my decision. Dave would have taken the risk; there were a few moments like this I kyboshed in our young lives. I often wonder if I had some premonition of the isolation that would have come from a drastic move with someone I loved yet really didn’t have a lot in common with ultimately.

Come to think of it I wasn’t much of a risk taker back in my late twenties. I just wanted the safety, security and calmness of the home life I had ripped from me in my teens. I wanted the picket fence and the satisfaction of a good partnership, this was all part of the BEFORE. I worshipped the dream and the many lessons soon to follow that I surely didn’t know about yet as we made our way exploring the streets of Atlanta. We were starry eyed back then and we were happy to live in that starry eyed world of BEFORE. It was satisfying and exciting in some ways and I have watched with delight my young team beginning their lives with the same naivete.

Going to a Superbowl was a once in a lifetime for me and like the deep appreciation I had watching Dave be an amazing father to Michael, I watched him at this game more than I watched the game. Ironically, I don’t even like football. When we were down there I actually contemplated selling my ticket and sitting at the bar instead. Football games are wasted on me, I have never understood the game, still don’t, but I do appreciate the pomp and circumstance of the Superbowl so I went and was really glad I did. Just watching Dave’s face made me so happy. This was one of the many BEFORES. When life simply was, before I realized that the small rumblings of dissatisfaction would eventually unwind my notion of marriage to the person I thought I would be with forever. When our son was born, he was like a good luck charm as his birth on December 27, 1997 was the weekend of the first big time the Patriots at last began showing promise. December 28th they would be playing a playoff game against the Miami Dolphins. I don’t think my former husband could have been more ecstatic.

I watch my son’s love of all things sports and television. I watch his connection with Dave and the camaraderie they share because it just so happens that Dave ended up with a child who loves sports as much as he does. I don’t know what he would have done if Michael was into art and music or something other than sports instead. I have some friends who have children who could care less about sports. Not Michael. He is all sports and has been since his first T ball game. Not surprising since his birth was when it all started.

So much has happened since that Superbowl, but this is life coming at us. We have those juicy markers reminding us of all of the diamonds in the rough, the pleasantries, the traumas, the dramas, and the rediscovery of ourselves in the process if we are open to the lessons. I never realized that the Superbowl I attended in January of 1994 would be the last January of the life as I knew it. The next major life marker put me in a new frame of mind just six months later when my dear brother was diagnosed with a rare form of lung cancer and our lives would never be the same. Young death changed me, but so does LIFE and having our son two years later was the gift that keeps on giving. So as I get ready to actually watch the Superbowl this year without putting the TV on mute as I read the paper, (sacrilege, I know), I wholeheartedly celebrate the BEFORES because in all of them, the AFTERS are so sweet.

the day after Michael was born and a happy face the year they won their first Superbowl, 2002, only five years later and the rest is history including that other New England team we call THE RED SOX.

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self proclaimed lover of all things beauty, business + lifestyle, I write because it feels good.