Friday, January 11, 2008

Blood: Thicker than water, thinner than a Cosmopolitan

When my older son was first born, my mother got him a shirt that reads: Daddy loves Mommy, Me, and the Auburn Tigers. My wife referred to it as the “Daddy loves mommy the least” shirt. She loves to give me a hard time about Auburn, saying I love my alma mater (and college football) more than her. I tell her she’s wrong. Unfortunately, I dug myself a hole over the holidays that I will be in for a long time.

At New Year’s, my wife and I did something that parents need to do occasionally: we took a vacation away from the kids. We haven’t always felt comfortable about taking vacations by ourselves. We hesitated for many years, owing to concerns over our older son’s issues. As he has matured, we have realized that the worst-case scenarios we envisioned in our minds were not likely to happen. Our biggest concern now is that we know our younger son is the proverbial handful.

Our first vacation alone was a little over a year ago. We spent a weekend in New York in December. Our kids did fine, so we looked forward to our next opportunity.

That chance came with the arrival of the New Year’s holidays. With grandparents offering to look after the boys, we went to Myrtle Beach with my younger sister, Jeanne and her husband, Barry. For the women, it was a chance to shop. For the men, golf. On New Year’s Eve, we all went to dinner at Greg Norman’s Australian Grille.

And herein lies the tale.

Auburn was in the Peach (Chick-Fil-A) Bowl against Clemson.

This game kicked off at 7:30 on New Year’s Eve.

Greg Norman’s was a good choice. The restaurant has a bar with a number of TVs. After dinner, we repaired to the bar to ring in 2008. We found a table and began celebrating.

My eyes were all but glued to the TV.

Somewhere at around 11:30 p.m., Auburn sealed the victory with a TD run in overtime. Our table leapt in celebration. (Given that we were in South Carolina, ours was the only table that celebrated.)

Shortly thereafter, as I watched the post-game, I realized something was going on. I asked “What’s up?” but was told “nothing.” Finally, my wife asked, “Honey, which do you love more, Auburn or me?”

It was then I knew something was wrong.

I told my wife her, of course. Yet, I stared at my hands, almost looking without seeing. I closed my eyes and concentrated. Then it registered. My left hand felt different.

“My wedding ring’s gone,” I said.

I didn’t need to ask where it was. I knew my wife had it. In the celebration of Auburn’s win. I had thrown my hands up. My ring flew off and hit my brother-in-law. He gave it to my sister. My sister (aren’t you MY sibling) gave it to my wife.

Despite my sister’s dubious actions, I still regard myself as lucky. Had the ring not hit my brother-in-law, we might not have realized it was gone until after we had left the restaurant. Still, it was embarrassing, especially when you realize that I was the evening’s designated driver.

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