I’m short on time, but long on memories of a weekend road trip to Washington with Ryan. With Riley hosting a birthday slumber party, it was time for the boys to vacate the premises. For the second straight year, the NHL playoff schedule cooperated, allowing us to catch a Saturday afternoon game against the Rangers, stay over at our favorite hotel, and stop by Caps practice Sunday morning before heading home.
Once again, we saw a dramatic game won by the Capitals. This time, by a 1-0 score in overtime. Once again, Caps defenseman Mike Green provided the game-winning goal. Once again, Ryan and I celebrated like little kids.
But more important was the time spent together, pursuing our favorite activity — especially given the rough night we went through on Thursday. Ryan showed a few signs of nerves during the Saturday evening games, but nothing to derail our fun.
An intense period of time spent in such close contact with Ryan is very revealing. I continued to notice his improved verbal communication skills. He opened up to me about his anxiety over this week’s standardized testing in school.
He also amazed me with his recall. I should be beyond being surprised by his memory at this point, but I’m not. He was happily watching NHL highlights on my laptop Saturday afternoon. I had the Kentucky Derby on TV and was trying to get him to pick a horse. He looked up at the screen where the field was listed for perhaps one full second before announcing “I’ll take ‘I’ll Have Another'” — that being the name of last year’s Derby winner. We watched the race from this same hotel last year, but I don’t recall discussing it. But once again, his memory tops mine.
When I implored him to pick one of this year’s horses he looked up once more and said “Orb.”
There’s so much I want to say about this trip and yet so little I need to. I want to say how remarkable it is to spend that much time together without issue. But a part of me doesn’t want it to be remarkable at all: Just a father and son away for a weekend, pursuing a favorite activity. Of course it went well.
But I also know it’s no small thing, especially with all that has troubled Ryan lately. We had some minor bumps — a missing waffle maker from the breakfast buffet, a return to the hotel to retrieve a forgotten item, a crashed iPad game, some bouts with traffic — but nothing that derailed us.
For us, that will always be something to celebrate.