Do You Run From Your Kid Or Bring Her Along?

I slept on the couch on Saturday night. No marital spat – I was playing golf super early on Sunday, and I didn’t want to wake my wife up.

My alarm rang and I got ready. But then I heard something terrifying: my youngest daughter was up – at 6:35am!

She toddled out, sweet and sleepy. “What are you doing Dad?”

It was like I’d been caught committing a crime. “Getting ready for golf.”

I’d struck a deal with the pro shop guys, so they put me out first at 7:25am. I fly around in two hours, finishing, usually, before any of my children are awake. Not this day.

“I’ll go golfing with you, Daddy,” she said.

Normally this was something I loved to hear. But she’s 7 and her attention span matches her age. I’d planned this round weeks ago – me, golf on an empty course, two hours of alone time.

And here was my daughter, wanting to go with me. And there in the other room was my wife, asleep and in need of rest.

What were the chances I could sneak out? Give my daughter yogurt and a waffle, her iPad and pretend like I didn’t know she was up when I left???

The word ‘conundrum’ was created for a moment like this. I’ve put myself out there as the Leadiest Lead Dad in America, founder of The Company of Dads, a guy who’s rallying men around being more vocal fathers at home and at work and partnering with companies to show them why this is a bottom-line benefit.

But I also like a little bit of alone time. And I’m obsessive about golf.

“Get dressed and we’ll go,” I said.

I packed a duffle with books, coloring supplies, squeezy yogurts, water and sunscreen.

Maybe we’d make it 9 holes, I thought. Maybe my wife would be up when we passed the condo on 10 and I could drop our daughter off, keep going, score some good husband points, get some alone time in the end?

Here’s what actually happened: I played and she played. There was a lot of coloring and tick-tack-toe. Anticipating the snack cart was big. It delivered things like cheese and crackers and Gatorade that I’d never give my daughter at 8am – unless we were on a golf course.

On the back nine, she began shooting golf videos. Her sign-off: “Check me out on Tik Tok, YouTube and SnapChat, Byeeeee!” (No, my 7-year-old is not on social media.)

It was an amazing two hours. She never asked to go in. I never worried about what I was shooting. She drove the cart – Florida, as she says, is ‘lawless,’ so what’s a little underage golf cart driving? And we talked – a lot.

At the end she drove the cart back to the condo, bouncing through people’s yards and arriving to the bemusement of her sisters.

“Astie, you’re off-roading in the golf cart.”

“Florida – lawless,” she replied.

As she was driving back to the course, she said, “Dad, I like early morning golf with you. Can we do it again tomorrow?”