Little Tom is a man obsessed.
Tom has discovered a deep and life-guiding passion for golf.
He has two golf clubs that are just his size (a gift from a co-worker of Knute's who was delighted to get them out of his basement), a chipper and a driver. Most days, after we drop his big brother and sister off at school, Tom heads out to the back yard where he happily whacks his collection of golf balls (including his highly prized and treasured blue and yellow ones) across the grass and through the trees.
His obsession with golf doesn't end with merely playing the game; no, my little wanna-be-golf-pro-like-his-great-uncle* knows exactly what channel on our cable service is the the Golf Channel (59, for those of you in the Lebanon area). After he comes in from his morning tee time from the back yard greens, he snacks on Cheez-Its while he gets his daily fix of golf (or golf infomercials) on tv.
My trusty van Claudine drives past our local public golf course (it's really quite nice) at least twice a day so Tom can check on the greens and heckle whoever might be unlucky enough to be putting at the hole closest to East Street.
"See THAT, Mommy?! He MISSED it!"
I've learned to keep the windows up with the child locks engaged as we drive by.
Yesterday, on our early morning pass of the golf course, Tom peered out the window at the dewy grass and asked, "Where's Tiger?"
"Still sleeping," I answered. Hey, it might have been true, right?
Last Friday, when the big kids had off from school and Knute was home burning up some personal days before the insanity of Q4 hits, we surprised the kids with a trip down to our fave mini-golf course. It's just down the road from us (a pleasant country drive) and once you've paid for your round of mini-golf, you can play as many times as you like.
We decided to give little Tom and his siblings a chance to really swing the sticks on their driving range. While I went in search of a bucket of balls**, Knute set the kids up and let them hit a few that were left on the range. As I walked back over to them, I looked up just in time to see Tom lay one out over a hundred yards.
While it would be nice to dream of an early retirement (say, 45ish?) spent whisking from one PGA Tour event to another, I have no such delusions. Golf is a tough game, one that frustrates me because my muscles want to swing the club like a field hockey stick. Though many parents may dream of raising the next Tiger, I'm just trying to raise a good man.
I'm glad Tom loves golf and I'm glad that our small town has so many places where he can play in youth leagues as he gets older; if something evolves from it, something bigger and better, so be it.
For now, I'm happy that he's happy.
And I'm finding during those oh-so-fun moments when tiny tempers flare that the threat of no more golf for today is a fabulous negotiating tool.
*Knute's uncle was on the tour and has worked as a golf pro since then. Tom's obsession has a genetic basis.
**Knute and I have had more laughs at all the puns and double entendres that happen innocently enough when our 3.5 year old talks endlessly about his balls.