Sunday, June 19, 2011

Change in Father's Day Plans

I am usually terrible about planning in advance for Father's Day. The days before are typically spent scrambling around trying to come up with a good gift idea for my husband or grabbing a last minute card for my Dad. Every few years, I come up with something good and get it together on time, but mostly it's a pretty slapped together occasion.

This year, I thought I had it covered way ahead of schedule with respect to my husband. About this time last year, I learned that tickets were going on sale for the 2011 US Open to be held at Congressional Country Club in Bethesda. The final day of the US Open is always on Father's Day, and I thought it would make a fine gift for the family to take Dad to the tournament. We have all been trying to get good enough at golf to play a round with him, but our games are not improving very quickly. I figured our best shot (no pun intended) at enjoying 18 holes of golf as a family on Father's Day would be as spectators as opposed to searching for errant balls in the woods.

I was feeling pretty pleased with my plan until a few months ago when I learned that my son's week of Navy soccer camp would run from Sunday through Thursday as opposed to Monday through Friday.  Not just ANY Sunday but Father's Day Sunday.  Ah well, I thought, we will just drop Henry off at camp early and head over to Congressional as a threesome instead of a foursome.

Well, as the day approached, and I received the registration instructions for soccer camp, it began to occur to me that it might not be that simple. It seemed important to get Henry settled in being his first ever "sleep-away" camp, but registration didn't even begin until 10 AM, and we were expected to provide our boys with lunch the first day before handing them over to the Naval Academy camp staff. This midday checkin would effectively cut our day at Congressional for the US Open in half.

So last week, I brought it up to my husband so we could discuss the game plan. It became clear pretty quickly that trying to do both was not a good option. The logistics were just too complicated. Without hesitation, my husband, good father that he is, said not to worry about the tournament. We would just find someone else to enjoy them and enjoy our own leisurely day getting Henry checked in and then watching the US Open from the best seats in the house - the big screen, high-definition TV in our air-conditioned family room.

And that is where we sit after a morning in downtown Annapolis. We are now about to watch Rory McIlroy tee off at Hole 1 and have a go at making history. They say he could be the next Tiger Woods. At 22 years old and 14 under par going into the final round of the US Open, he may well be, though Tiger's 14 majors will be tough to match. Let's just hope he doesn't wind up careening down his driveway in his boxers with his wife in pursuit wielding a golf club...

Meanwhile, my brother-in-law and nephew are enjoying our Congressional Trophy Club tickets to possibly see history made by McIlroy in person. Our loss is their gain. I told my nephew I was delighted that they could use them, but please don't embarrass us by doing an eyebrow dance in the background of a camera interview with McIlroy. Don't know what I'm talking about? Check out the smart-a$$ kid in this video - too funny:

As for our Father's Day morning in Annapolis, the whole family helped Henry move into his USNA digs. He was happy to have his sister there to organize his closet, his Mom there to make his bunk bed, and his Dad there to give him some last minute tips from his own Navy camp experience. Another year, I would be OK with sending him on with a friend, but this first year, I'm glad we were all there to see him off properly, even if it meant sacrificing the US Open. Henry didn't get to see the best golfer in the world, but he was reminded that he does in fact have the best family and Dad in the world.

Of course, that's how many of us feel who have been lucky enough to be raised by good fathers - fathers who are always there for us when we need them, always setting a good example and giving us useful advice. Here's to all the Dads dropping their kids at camp, teaching their kids to play golf, or thumping their kids on the head for doing or saying something stupid - that was MY Dad's specialty.

Speaking of my Dad, I posted this picture of me and him on Facebook this AM in a lame attempt at some kind of Father's Day gesture in the absence of a gift. I thanked him for always making me feel safe and loved. His example made it possible for me to recognize the qualities in my own husband that would one day make our children feel safe and loved. For me, that's really the bottom line with respect to good fathering - that and a few well placed thumps on the head.

Me and Dad

Happy Father's Day to all you Cape dads. Hope you're enjoying the golf or the Gold Cup soccer or whatever your favorite pastimes might be. As I've been writing, Rory has birdied Hole 1, shot par on the 2nd and 3rd, and birdied the 4th. At a record breaking 16 under par, he's well on his way to providing his father with one heck of a Father's Day gift.

I'd love to hear about your great Dads in the comments. Feel free to share!

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