The Right Thing to Do

This post also appeared on in the opinion section of the Cape Cod Times, a division of Ottaway Newspapers, Inc.

When my father called me earlier this week and offered me his other ticket to the Celtics vs. Pistons Eastern Conference Final game on Thursday, I was ecstatic. Although I haven’t been a big Celtics fan in years, I began to grudgingly get back into watching them this season. And while I’ve been to Red Sox and Patriots playoff games, I don’t think I’ve ever attended an NBA playoff. So I immediately told him I’d go.

But then I thought about it a little more…

MJ let me go to the Red Sox game last weekend while she took care of Will, and she never complains when I go play softball every Wednesday or take two extra hours to go to the gym and for a run. And I know she loves basketball because she used to play in middle school when her nickname was “Moose” and she was the tallest girl in class. So I started thinking about it and within seconds the choice was clear. I would offer my ticket to MJ and let her go have fun with my Dad. She deserves it for being a great mom and even though it kills me to miss out on an important Boston sporting event, it was the right thing to do.

Although I have to admit, I swore I’d never offer her another ticket to a professional sporting event after an incident last fall when she was in her first trimester. Here’s the entry from the journal I was keeping at the time:

I’ve been reading all these pregnancy books for men. All of them say the same things, namely that my wife will go insane and yell at me a lot. I can only combat this with compassion and understanding, and one way to do that is to try and surprise her with unexpected little things. My only problem is, I suck at surprises and I couldn’t think of anything outside the box.Thankfully she didn’t react the same way this time. She just made sure it’s what I really wanted to do and then said thank you, which is all I needed. She’s a great wife and mother and I want to show her how much she means to me. I also need to force her to take some time away from Will, because I think she’s getting to the point where leaving him for any amount of time becomes very difficult. Plus everyone needs to recharge their sanity once in a while. I hope she sees a great game!

Until Sunday morning that is.

If you don’t know by now, my Dad has season tickets to the Patriots. He’s had them for more than 30 years and my brother and I covet them. He only has two tickets so he goes to each of the eight home games, while my brother and I take four each. Now MJ isn’t a huge football fan but she enjoys going to the games in person. Because I, my father and my brother are such freaks about the games, I truthfully told her at the outset of our relationship that she’d probably never get the chance to go. They’re good seats too, end zone 11 rows from the field.

So as we were driving up to my parents’ house on Sunday I had a revelation. Why not give my ticket for Sunday’s game to MJ and let her go with my Dad? After all, the Patriots were playing Buffalo and I knew it’d be a blowout so I wouldn’t miss much. And even though I hate missing a game, I thought it would bowl MJ over and she’d be really happy and appreciative. Well, I was wrong. Here’s how the conversation went…

ME: “Hey hon, I have a surprise for you.”
HER: “What?”
ME: “How’d you like to take my ticket to the game today and go watch the Patriots live with my Dad??”
HER: (long pause with a questioning look) “What? What do you mean? Why are you giving up your ticket? What’s going on?”
ME: (taken aback) “I just wanted to surprise you with something unexpected.”
HER: “But you said I’d probably never be able to go. Why all of a sudden are you offering me a ticket?”
ME: (absolutely stunned) “What?? What are you talking about? I just thought it’d be a nice surprise.”
HER: “What’s in it for you?”

It was at that moment that I lost my sh*t.

I’m giving up one of the things I hold most precious in my life to allow my wife to go to a game, and she craps all over me? I tried to explain that she’d soon be too far along to walk the necessary distance from the car to the stadium, and that after the kid is born it’d be very hard for her to go to the game. But it didn’t matter. She was still accusatory and suspicious of my motives. As if I was going to let her go to the game so I could cheat on her or something. All I was going to do was sit on my parents couch with the dogs and watch the game on TV.

So we got into a huge fight and I went to the game, vowing to NEVER make the same offer again. I didn’t get an apology until hours later. That’s just messed up, even for a crazy pregnant woman.

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