But I was so eager to introduce him to Fenway Park and the Red Sox,
I took the gamble on Father’s Day in 2002. And despite the cool, damp
weather, we had a fantastic time. He stood the whole game; Cracker
Jacks, cotton candy, and Fenway Franks sustained him; he was fascinated
by the wave; he loved the chants, the clapping, and singing Take Me Out To the Ballgame; and although he paid little attention to the action and didn’t understand a thing that was going on, he never got bored.
After the three-hour game, we had the option of heading home or
standing in an incredibly long line under the right field seats to go
onto the field for the first ever "Father’s Day catch." I gave him the
options and let him choose. "Let’s go on the field, Daddy!" (What a
kid!) We waited and waited, but he never complained. By the time we
made it onto the outfield grass, we had been at Fenway for about 4 1/2
hours (which is 9 hours in 3 year-old time).
I recall thinking, while rolling balls to him, chasing him, and
wrestling with him in the shadow of the Green Monster, that this was my
favorite day as a parent. It was surreal. I wished it could last
forever. And I hoped my son would remember it, too.
Fast-forward four months to the fall of 2002. I was sitting with my
son at our kitchen table, a wall calendar in front of us, filling in
the major holidays together. We noted Halloween, Christmas, New Year’s
Day, Valentine’s Day, July 4th, and a few others. When we were done, he
said with alarm, "Daddy, Daddy, we forgot the biggest holiday of all!"
We did? "Yeah Daddy, we forgot Father’s Day at Fenway!"
(No, I didn’t forget.)