My wife spent the last four days in Pittsburgh at a conference, which left A.J. and me on our own. We’ve been through these father-son weekends before, and I always think it’s going to be a perfect binge of takeout pizza, trips to the arcade and repeat viewings of SpongeBob. But something always comes up that somehow sinks the plan. I think the first time A.J. and I were on our own, he spent the entire weekend on the couch with a fever. I can still recall how badly that weekend shook my confidence as a parent. I became convinced that I was going to give the child the wrong cold medicine or something.
This last weekend went much better. We skated, we went to Dunkin’ Donuts, we had lunch at the diner, we went to the hardware store. We went to the fun fair at A.J.’s school, where his prowess at carnival games won him a whoopee cushion. He then spent the remainder of the weekend blowing up and sitting on the thing, then laughing hysterically.
On Saturday, he played in his first all-star basketball game, which, as a special occasion, featured pre-game introductions of the starting lineups. (A.J. was introduced as “a 6-7 forward from Loyola University.”) I’m pretty sure he appreciated the honor and enjoyed the spectacle of the whole thing, but all he kept talking about was the free popcorn after the game.
That night he asked me if I missed Mommy as much as he did. I told him I missed her a ton. He thought about it and said, “I miss her two tons. And I don’t miss you at all, because you’re right here.”
Right there was a very good place to be.