I admit as I write this that I don’t know which direction this post will take. But it’s Tuesday, and I’ll be dipped if I don’t bring you a new Tough Call post.
The problem is that even now, I don’t think this one is a tough call at all.
I did something this past weekend that I can’t remember doing in recent memory. I intentionally skipped a televised game of my favorite college football team. Now, I’ve missed games in the past. And I’ve recorded them and watched them later. And I did that as well this past Saturday.
The difference between this game and all of those previously is that it was completely my choice how I spent my Saturday afternoon. At other times, I had commitments that I had agreed to before I knew of the starting time. This time, I was asked to go golfing – with my dad. And I readily and enthusiastically agreed.
Here’s the thing. My dad isn’t old. I anticipate (as well as hope and pray) that I get another thirty or so years with him. I hope he gets to see his grandchildren for many years, and if fate is kind, his grandchildren’s children.
So why does nine holes of golf seem so important?
Long story short? I didn’t spend as much time with him as I could or should have growing up. Am I playing catch-up, or trying to make up for lost time? Probably.
I’m not going to say I was a perfect kid. I wasn’t. I was a smart ass. Some days, I was a dumb ass. And I was lazy. I would rather sit on the couch and watch movies or play video games than pretty much anything. I could have learned so much, but I was too busy doing nothing at all.
So when my dad asked if I wanted to go golfing, there was only one answer for me. Nothing beat nine holes with him, drinking a few beers, smoking a cigar, talking about the current events in sports, family, etc. It was something I never knew I was missing until I took advantage of the opportunity to be a participant. It’s not that we didn’t have anything in common, it’s that I didn’t really know how to talk to him when I was younger, a teen. He was always the authoritative figure. Having grown, I am now able to see him on more equal terms (not completely, the man is still my hero and everything I aspire to be in a father).
As the day draws closer to my being a father, well, I don’t think I have a better role model than my own dad. He let me make my own choices as far as hobbies and interests. He was my coach as well as my dad. And I got to play catch with him, shoot hoops, etc.
I don’t write any of this to brag. I know not everyone had similar experiences. Rather, I write this as a reminder to myself to be that same kind of father to my children.
I will let my child(ren) choose between Marvel and DC, between Star Wars and Star Trek. Even let them choose their own favorite Doctor. But I hope they learn from the mistakes I made as a youngster.
I hope they choose to spend some time with their old man.
So this week’s #ToughCallTuesday isn’t tough at all.
I’ll always choose family. I’ll always put my kids first. They won’t always get everything they want. But they will never be in need. And “like my father before me,” they’ll get a dad who comes home from work and says “let’s play catch” or “let’s read a book.”