My mother and I went to visit my stepson in his new habitat a few months ago. He had recently moved to a new locale as he began his residency as a physician. While we were there we took he and a friend out to dinner and started telling old family tales.
One of those tales included the time he kicked me off the golf course.
Not literally. But it makes for a more dramatic story if I use a strong verb.
But back to the real story.
My stepson and his dad are voracious golfers. They have traveled the world to get in a good game on the links. They have been to Pebble Beach, California and had their photo taken by the big Rolex clock. (It’s a thing.) They have even been to the place that started it all, the mack daddy, the renowned Old Course at St. Andrew’s. Yes, in Scotland. Voracious, I tell you.
When I first began dating my husband, he attempted to include me in all of his activities, both kid and non-kid related. That’s what people in love do. They have a hard time focusing on anything else when they are in the deep throes of love. They believe the children will all adore the new love interest, want to jump into their arms with hugs and kisses and generally act out every sappy Hallmark movie ever made.
That is not what happened. In fact, that is not ever what happens.
On a particularly lovely spring day just as the local golf courses were opening for the season, my now husband invited me, his then new love, on a golf excursion with he and his son. What could go wrong? HAHAHAHAHAHA!
(It should be noted that I am not a golfer, per se. I owned a set of clubs once upon a time. Frankly, I’d rather do other things for four hours of my day My interest in the outing this day was riding in a golf cart.)
Having been a stepchild myself, I had thought this through somewhat. Sure the younger Lacy liked me well enough. He was a pre-teen that had a lot more on his mind than getting a stepmom. In fact, I dare say that he thought about it little, if at all. He had golf, basketball, friends, the newfound influence of pre-teen girls, Taco Bell, sisters he teased, and more than I even want to think about going on in that little brain. But on this day what was happening was golf, WITH HIS DAD. He was unaware that I would be with his dad picking him up from school and heading to the course. He must have been irritated beyond measure when I hopped in the golf cart, he on one side of his dad with me on the other. Fun, right?
Not for him. Why should it? He was prepared to engage in one of his favorite activities with his partner in crime.
Therefore, it shouldn’t have been a surprise when he pouted. He didn’t want to get out of the cart and walk to the tee. His dad couldn’t get him to talk.
It wasn’t difficult to figure out the problem. Me. I was the problem.
But this was a problem that I could easily solve.
I told my beloved that I thought it would be a good idea if I made myself scarce and met them later for dinner.
And that’s what happened.
Some would say that I gave up and walked away from teaching a lesson.
I would say that I was the one who needed to learn the lesson.
As we sat at the table some 15 years later and told that story about my being kicked off the golf course, I could tell his adult self was a bit embarrassed.
“I just wanted to hang out with my dad,” he said as he shrugged.
“You were right,” I replied. “You had a special activity that you enjoyed with your dad. Your thing! I should have had the foresight to realize that. Actually, your dad and I both should have.”
In our newfound glee of having found one another, we failed to think about how best to integrate our lives and yet still make the kids feel secure in their relationship with their dad. Their acceptance of me likely was directly affected by their capacity to have the access to their dad that they had previously known. Their behavior towards me might be based on my respect for their own wants and needs. Being in a relationship with a single dad might require more thought and logistics than just falling in love.
Lesson leanred. I encouraged my beau to spend time alone with the kids, both as a group and individually. I referred to him as their dad so they would understand the respect that I had for that precious relationship. Perhaps most importantly, I learned that I had a lot to learn.
The irony of that little golf excursion is that my stepson and I I spent many hours tooling around in a golf cart on golf courses around the state when he joined the high school golf team. We ended up having plenty of golf time of our own. ; )