Is it possible to change the past?
Last month, my eight year old son Matthew said he wanted to go to the Rose Bowl game. Recalling when I was eight, I asked my father to take me to a World Series game, but he thought it would be a hassle and so I never went. To this day, I still harbor the disappointment, and wanted to rectify a past wrong.
So I hunted for weeks before finding two tickets for face value – even though that translated to $135 apiece! But when I told Matthew I had tickets to the game, his face lit up in a way that makes everything about parenting worthwhile.
Then came a new challenge: getting to Pasadena on New Year’s Day. The more I learned, the more apprehensive I became. Some people went the night before to ensure a parking space. There was the Gold Line train, but the thought of parking at Union Station made me uneasy. I could try parking in Pasadena, but the traffic leaving the Rose Parade would be a nightmare. And I knew that an 8 year old would not enjoy a 45 minute walk.
So on New Year’s morning I woke up at 4:00am in a cold sweat, agonizing over what to do. I turned on the TV, and learned they now expected almost one million people at the Parade. I began to slowly come apart at the seams, and I actually began to sympathize with my father’s theory that going to a big game was one big hassle.
But I wasn’t going to be my father. So with lots of bravado – and plenty of coffee — we left for Pasadena at the start of the Rose Parade. The freeways were emptier than I have ever seen, and we shortly entered what seemed like heaven – a parking space close to the Rose Bowl.
Everything was wonderful — except we now had five hours to spare before kickoff! But with Star Wars playing on a portable DVD player, Matthew was happy, I took a well deserved nap, and before we knew it we had begun that arduous 10 minute walk to the stadium.
We got to our seats and they were beautiful; my feelings of anxiety and fatigue just melted away. We sat in front of four women who thought it was adorable that Matthew would stand up on his seat to watch the game. That he blocked their view was irrelevant. It was 70 degrees in January, the Trojans were winning, and all was right with the world.
It did take a couple of hours to get out of the parking lot afterwards, but when we got home, I told Matthew this was one of the best days of my life. And I only hope if he has a child someday, Matthew will share this story with them. And not feel the need to change one thing about his childhood.
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