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Glen Allen, VA 23060

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Garth Callaghan

Napkin Notes Dad

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Tough Choices

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The Napkin Notes Blog

Tough Choices

WGarth Callaghan

I have been looking at life through different lenses for a couple of years now. The lenses provide clarity, and have allowed me to be really focused since my 3rd diagnosis. My focus is my daughter, Emma, and raising her to be a strong, confident, graceful, young woman. Part of that focus involves supporting her effort as a softball player.  I can honestly utter "I love to watch you play" during each game, win or lose. Emma continues to grow and show improvement, both as an athlete and a good sport.

(See a previous blog post: Six Words I Need To Say To Emma.)

Sometimes I am faced with a difficult choice. Or to put it more realistically, a choice that will disappoint someone when I choose the other option. The choice itself wasn't difficult. I just didn't want to let anyone down. I waited until the last minute to "decide", hoping our potential schedule might change. It didn't.

Emma was lucky enough to join the best sets of teams in Central Virginia. She was a Rockville Rebel, and Rockville had three teams competing this year. The team had a fantastic season and Emma was selected to be on the All-Star team. It was quite an accomplishment, and we were excited for the post season playoffs.

We missed the district games because there were no other teams in the 16u age group to play! We automatically moved on to the State tournament. We were told the state tournament was to be scheduled anywhere from July 4-6, and that we might possibly have an early schedule starting the evening of the 3rd.

Bummer!

I was so excited for Emma to be able to complete at the state level. However, a dear family member was going to be married on July 5 just outside of Albany, NY. I couldn't be on both places in the same day, but if Emma were to be scheduled to play on the 3rd and 4th, I might have been able to pull something off.

I really needed to attend this wedding. My cousin, Jonathan, was getting married. I have always been close to his family. Jonathan's mom, Ruth, is my Godmother. I have spent countless weekends with them as we grew up. I even visited them after I moved away from home.

Jonathan's 5th Birthday Party

Jonathan's 5th Birthday Party

Jonathan's Mario Castle Cake

Jonathan's Mario Castle Cake

My Gift to Jonathan - Fake Dog Poo!

My Gift to Jonathan - Fake Dog Poo!

I grew up with this family. I love them dearly. How could I possibly miss this wedding??

Besides, I had a family tradition to uphold. I needed to pass on the "Fish Dish." This gift has been given to many family members as a wedding gift. It's been in the family for 50 years. My mother received it. She gave it to my Aunt Ruth and Uncle Peter for their wedding gift. They gave it to Lissa and me. And it's been sitting in our garage for almost 18 years, waiting for another recipient. I desperately needed to be there to present this gift and pass on the family tradition.

The Fish Dish - with original sticker still attached!

The Fish Dish - with original sticker still attached!

Unfortunately, the two events were going to be on the same day and there was no physical way I would be able to be in both places.

Emma sensed my dilemma and even gave me an out. "Dad, you've been to every game. You can go to the wedding." That girl has a huge heart. I was touched by her offer, but I couldn't miss the championship.

You see, it wasn't because that it was the State Championship, although that was an exciting facet of the tournament.

It was because I have treated each game as my last opportunity to see her play. "I love to watch you play." There are times I watch her I am so proud that my eyes well up with tears. I treat each and every single opportunity as my last time to watch her play. This is what cancer has done to me. It has forced me to focus on what's most important first.

How would you view things differently if you chose to view events in this manner? How differently would you make your daughter's lunch each day if you treated it as if it were the last time you made lunch? How differently would you listen to the marching band or football scrimmage?

Frankly, it heightens my excitement to watch each game. Win or lose, it's going to be the best game that I'll see that day.

I made the right choice. There was no competition. I couldn't miss the games.

I love to watch you play, Emma!  Play ball!

I send the Fish Dish to my sister, Colleen. She presented it to the Bride and Groom. I will be forever thankful for her doing so. I was happy to know she was willing to step out and present this item during the reception. What would I do without her? (That's a topic for a different post!)

I sat watching the games yesterday. My attention wasn't divided, but I was able to catch some pictures Colleen sent to me. It wasn't the same as being there, but I was ok with that. I was pretty wiped out. I had had a few rough days and yesterday morning was genuinely tough. I wasn't going to let that stop me from getting to the tournament to watch.

Even though I was drained, I was excited to watch. I cheered as best as I could, and I am incredibly proud of the team. Yes, they won both games, but my pride was centered on how they played together, how they lifted each other up, and how they even commented on the other teams' good plays in a positive manner. 

We're ready to move on to the Southeast Regional Tournament, and who knows, maybe the World Series. If we get that far, I think we'll make time to see Jonathan and Danni, since they'll be less than an hour away from were the World Series will be played this year.  Maybe that's God's plan for me anyway.

 

 

PS - If you'd like to help me wish my cousins well on their new journey, please head over to their Facebook pages and say congratulations!

 

Jonathan Drechsler & Danni Yelli

 

To Danni and Jonathan,

May you be poor in misfortune,
Rich in blessings,
Slow to make enemies,
Quick to make friends,
But rich or poor, quick or slow,
May you know nothing but
Happiness from this day forward.