We've finally reached the end of Heather's maternity leave; in less than twelve hours I will officially become a stay-at-home Dad. We both have had a great day today, both separately and together. I began the day by visiting my Mom in Brooklyn so that Heather and Timmy could have some alone time together. Instead of going for a stroll around the park I opted to go for a tune-up round of golf out at a local Par-3 course. My Mom came along for moral support and, as it were, to witness and attest to the single greatest round of golf I have ever played!
The last time I touched a club was in November 2009 when I set my personal best (73) on the same course. I figured that I could use today to get my mechanics back in line and prepare for what will hopefully be a number of treks over the Marine Parkway Bridge this summer. I wound up birdieing the first hole (something I had never done before) and parring the second hole--the longest of the course (something I rarely do). After a hiccup on the third hole I realized that I was lifting my head during my swing and was not involving my hips in the motion at all. That's when the magic happened.
Though I bogeyed the next two holes I found that my putting was on-fire; I had missed making par by the narrowest of margins. Needless to say, on the fourth hole some workers were installing the stadium lights they use for the twilight golf in the summer. Their crane was nearly blocking the left side of the green; I had to hit a straight shot to avoid drilling one of the men or hitting the crane. I wound up shooting it straight up the line and just past the hole; it got only better from there.
I parred the final four holes of the front nine missing my first ever eagle putt by maybe a half inch (the ball rolled on the edge of the cup before settling eight or so inches away). I realized when I was on the eighth hole (and just scored a three) that something special was going on. My heart started racing as I eyeballed my scores for the previous holes and realized that I was on pace to set a personal best--I might even break the sixties. I chastised myself for getting too far ahead, then rushed my shot on the tenth hole earning my first bogey in five holes. When I see someone catching up behind me I get rattled and tend to rush my shot. I wound up calming myself down, parred the next hole, drew a bogey on 12...and then I locked in. I wound up parring holes thirteen through seventeen and then birdied eighteen--something I had never done before. When I tallied my score with a shaking hand and a racing heart, I found that I had broken not only the sixties but the fifties as well; my final score was a fifty-nine with ten pars and two birdies. Needless to say--I am framing the scorecard and am contemplating making a shadow box for the balls and pencil as well. I'll likely never score another round like this so I'm honoring the anomaly for its spectacular, unique existence!
After dropping my Mom off back at her house I headed home to pick up Heather and Timmy for lunch. I blasted Metallica's "Death Magnetic," opting for All Nightmare Long and Cyanide as I zipped along the Belt Parkway. I was brimming with excitement from my round of golf but I also knew that I had a wealth of tension percolating beneath the surface; the day was half over and I thought of how difficult and emotional tomorrow morning will be. Driving in warm weather with the windows down and good metal blasting through the speakers has a cathartic effect nearly second to none!
My tension dissolved, I picked Heather up and we headed to Babies-R-Us for some supplies. We then ate at TGIFriday's where we discussed for the first time today Heather's emotional state and how she felt about returning to work. She has handled it remarkably well though I cannot say that I am surprised; she is far tougher than she gives herself credit for. We spent the remainder of the afternoon resting before heading out to Starbucks for a treat.
I still can't believe that tomorrow morning Heather will be returning to work nor can I believe that there will be a man we've never met documenting it for (essentially) the world to see! I'm looking forward to meeting Mr. Figueroa and spending some time with him before he heads off to film another alumnus for the documentary. It's going to be surreal dropping Heather off at the ferry tomorrow morning with a camera turned on us but somehow I think that I will be lost in the moment of our parting. I know that she will miss Timmy (and me) terribly but I also know that returning to work will be good in some ways for Heather and that the day will fly by far quicker than she imagines it will. Either way, I am thankful for the maternity leave time that we have spent together and, reflecting on the past eleven weeks, I know that I could not ask for more!