In addition to watching some matches that probably shaved a few years off my life, a couple other amazing things happened that, even though they're not more impressive than our insanely fit and slightly scary to look at mixed doubles team, definitely made the weekend memorable.
- We arrived at the airport for an early morning flight with all of the kids and luggage accounted for, on time, without stress.
- Zoe woke up at 5:30, got dressed and got in the car without one trace of opposition.
- Since the matches started at 7:30 each morning, the kids had to get up really early in order to have time to eat something and not play tennis in their pajamas. Shockingly enough, out of eight kids over three mornings of getting up, only one kid (mine) overslept one time.
- I successfully navigated unfamiliar streets while driving a Suburban crammed with eight kids and myself, with the music cranked, and never acquired a speeding ticket, parking ticket, dent or flat tire.
- However, while running out for a 6-pack of beer, another mom did manage to blow a tire. But to tell you how kick ass this woman is, in addition to returning to the hotel with a flat, she also returned with the 6-pack.
- Not one sweatshirt, water bottle, tennis bag or cooler was left behind at the tennis courts.
- I taught the kids how to suck helium out of a balloon.
- I impressed a few boys with my ultra-efficient method of putting peanut butter on a toasted bagel. Apparently, it's the little things that matter.
- Another mom and I shared a hotel room (with Zoe) and managed to not make each other crazy. In fact, we're now even better friends than before we left.
- Four adults and nine kids checked out of four non-trashed hotel rooms, on time (because we had to request late check-out), without anyone bursting into tears, screaming or, most importantly of all, forgetting anything.
- No one sustained any injuries or illness.
- Although I did drink a few beers over the weekend, I somehow managed to survive without any vodka.
And then there is Zoe. This girl basically skipped and sang through four days of being told what to do, when to do it, when to get up, when to go to bed, that we didn't have time for her to swim even though we were in Arizona and the sun was out, when to be quiet, when to cheer louder, when to sit still, when she could eat, no she couldn't have ice cream, no I'm not spending $5.00 on cotton candy and for crying out loud just go to the bathroom now because we won't have time to find one later! She sailed through two turbulence-filled flights at weird times of the day, including a return flight that landed after midnight. Throughout all of this, she figured out exactly how to cheer against the opponent and discovered that she had the confidence to look a boy (from Texas who was more than twice her size) in the eye and tell him "You played my brother and you called a ball out that was actually in. You cheated. We're mad at you."
There were only a couple times that I detected some exhaustion and potential crabbiness coming out, and one of those moments was so obvious that a USTA photographer saw it, snapped a picture and then promptly posted it on their national website.
So thank you, Zoe, for managing to pull out some good behavior when I needed you to, not driving all of Zach's friends to insanity and not making me look like that crazy lunatic stressed-out screaming mom that can't even survive one weekend without vodka. You know, the mom that you see when you're at home in Minnesota.