As I mentioned earlier, it’s been crazy around here. I think my wife and I are beginning to really see how much help our two older kids are around the house. We don’t even have time to hit the gym, between the new daycare my wife is helping to start-up and my teaching job.
Last week was more of the same. I can hardly wait to get home so I can chill, reenergize and go to bed in order to do it all over again the next day. So when friends gave me their tickets to an upcoming Cubs game, I was both excited and not. I was thrilled to be able to take my son to his first game at Wrigley Field. He and I had attended a game a Miller Park earlier, so it wasn’t his first professional baseball game.
That’s where my dilemma began. I really was looking forward to going. I wanted to be able to make a night of it with my son. But the closer we got to the actual day, the more I was growing less excited. I just didn’t want to go. The idea of getting less than five hours of sleep and then teach the next day didn’t appeal to me in the least. And then there was leaving work right about 2:30 so I could pull my son out of school early so we could catch the Wrigley bus in Schaumburg by 4:30. All I could focus on was rush, rush, rush. I was in total selfish mode.
I eventually decided I just couldn’t do it. I felt so guilty. My guilt turns to disappointment and self-loathing. This was of my doing and nobody elses. The trip to Wrigley is not a big deal for me since I’ve covered tons of games as a photographer in my journalism days. But to my son, it was a big deal.
My wife as usual, came to the rescue. She is so much more adventurous than I. She’s also so much more giving of herself. I wish I could be more like her, but I can’t. Maybe that’s why we make such a good couple. We’re a good balance. So to Wrigley they went.
I’ll tell you what. This was probably the best thing that could have happened. First, I’m a firm believer that all things happen for a reason. This is the perfect case. My wife treated my son to things he would have never seen if I would have taken him. He got to get his ”first game at Wrigley” certificate. Who knew that was a possibility? Not me. But more than that, my wife took him everywhere. He got to experience all the sights and sounds that I just wouldn’t have thought of.
You see, I’m old school. I go to a ball game, watch batting practice and talk about hitters. My son loves that too. We often have those conversations while watching SportsCenter. He is a “stat hound” like no other eight year old I’ve ever seen.
But with my wife, he got to experience the “colors” of Wrigley. She took him exploring like I never would have. That is something that he’ll never forget. To me, it’s just enough to be inside of Wrigley. To my wife, you need to experience all that is Wrigley.
Now, I’m not quite the “loser” I make myself out to be. Part of my justification for not taking my eight year old to the game was that my seven-year old needed more dad time. Honestly, he does. Nathan gets a lot more dad time than Luke. This was really good time to change that.
What better way to get through to Luke? Food. The boy loves his food. He is such a passionate consumer of food. Luke is one of those kids who is a soundtrack of effects as he eats. Let’s just say, when Luke likes his food, you know it.
I gave him his choice of where to eat. Originally, he chose Chili’s then changed his choice to Applebees. It was a wonderful time. We talked and played tic-tac-toe. It was more conversation that we usually have. I’m actually a person of few spoken words (yeah, talk about the irony since I can’t write under 700 words). But the highlight was dessert. We ordered the “Blonde” which is essentially a white brownie topped with ice cream and a sweet syrup. It’s also served on a sizzling platter.
I thought the kid died and went to heaven. There were more “mmmms” and “ahhhhs” coming out of him as he tasted every bite. I had to laugh with joy. Best of all, this was our memory that we shared. I’m sure to Luke, this was just as good as Wrigley Field. To me, in that moment, it was pure joy.
So things do work out. They do happen for a reason. The guilt I felt from not going to the game was replaced with gratitude. Memories were created for all of us. You can’t beat that.
Until next time,