Granddaughter Emily was my golf partner this week in my quest to get all of my grandkids onto the golf course at least once this summer. I'm starting to get a bit panicky. Summer is almost over and Emily is just 4 out of 8 to get out with me.
And she had to share her time with her mom! Last night was my annual Mother-Child golf event at the ladies' golf league I belong to. Each year, the members are invited to bring along a "child." It can be an adult child or a "child child." I have belonged to this golf league for 17 years so the first few years I brought along one of my own children .. no grandchildren, just one of my daughters. I would rotate the daughters, keeping track in my calendar to ensure fairness to all (the main focus of motherhood as I recall).
The girls all seemed to enjoy it, as did I, and as the years passed and each of my daughters had a daughter, it was difficult to invite the daughter and see the look of longing on the granddaughter's face as we left for the course. So, I started inviting both the daughter AND the granddaughter. We've done it that way for about 7 years now and I'm happy we moved in that direction. We team up each year with my good friend, Linda, and her two daughters and it has been fun to watch them all grow into delightful young women!
Emily is almost 13 now. She and Michele were my guests at Mother Child on August 1, 2007, when the 35W bridge went down. We had been called off the golf course because of a thunderstorm, and were huddled in the clubhouse watching the TV for weather updates when the news bulletin came across showing the horror and tragedy unfolding about 20 miles south of where we were. For all we knew, there could have been people any one of us might have known involved in that incident. It was difficult to even grasp the idea of a bridge collapsing and harder still to think about going back out to golf in the face of such a catastrophe. I remember how proud I was of her that she, too, was struck by the magnitude of the collapse, and wasn't just asking "Can we go back out now?"
This year, she is at the age where she really wants to do "cool" things (which she thinks golf is), but is afraid she won't be able to perform as competently as others might and that's definitely not "cool" when you're 13. So last night, she decided that her mom, Michele, could golf and she, Emily, would drive the cart. Now, that's cool! And that she could, and did, do very competently! (And she was pretty excited when I lost a headcover and she had to drive our path in reverse - by herself! - to find it!)
Fortunately, Michele and Emily are both what would have been referred to (in my era!) as "Twiggys," so 3 of us adult-sized women in the cart at one time worked just fine. The game was an alternate shot format, so two of us would tee off, go to the best drive out of the two, and the person who DIDN'T hit the drive would then hit the next shot, and on down the line, until we got the ball into the cup.
My game has been pretty much in the tank this year, so I was grateful for the help. Even with the help, we kind of struggled, but it was fun to see the look of surprise and shock on Michele's face when she would connect with a club (hybrids are the Magic Club!) and send the ball down the fairway. At first, Emily only wanted to putt, but even she got hooked on the fairway shots after we showed her how easy that Magic Club was to hit. I think we've got another Anika in the offing.
Following the game, there was a meal and prizes for all of the guests. In years past, some of the prizes have been a bit age inappropriate --- bottles of wine for an 18 year old (drinking age is 21 in MInnesota) and Mickey Mouse wallet for a 13 year old (you should have seen the look on the face of that girl when she returned to the table).
This year - problem solved. Cash all around. There was an old fashioned "punch board" and for the most part there was cash behind each of the punches. Michele left with $5 and Emily with $8. I've never seen anybody get cash and return it because it was the wrong color or size! We all went home happy, although with a few mosquito bites and yawning over the late hour. Emily had gone to a sleepover the night before and the girls had stayed up until 6 a.m., at which point they fell asleep, only to be awakened at 9:00 a.m. for the day! Ahhh, youth! I, personally, was exhausted just thinking about it.
What a bonding opportunity golf is ... regardless of how well or how poorly we play, we leave feeling good about having spent time together as family or with friends .. having gotten some great fresh air ... and just knowing that we are going to do better the next time .. we're sure of it! Mark Twain was wrong ... golf is NOT a good walk, spoiled. It is a good walk that spoils us ... makes us sad for the time we aren't on the golf course and we aren't together. I love the game and I love the time it has given me this summer with my grandchildren (oh, and with you, too, Michele!)