A Distant Second

For every group lead that I source, there can be only one hotel awarded the prize.  And so while it might be interesting to know whom my client considered their second choice, it does that hotel no tangible good to have that information.  It’s not something typically shared – heck, it’s not something typically asked.  And only occasionally do I even need to consider my client’s second choice, in that rare instance when our space was lost at our first choice.  And in that case, does it matter if that choice was a distant second choice, or whether the decision was neck and neck?  Would a hotel care to know it was a distant second to the hotel who won the business?  Second is no different than tenth in this example.

Although in business these are things I might concern myself with, it can’t matter to me at home.

The closest planet to the Sun is Mercury.  The second closest planet is Venus.  But closeness is relative, no?  Mercury is about 36 million miles from the center of our world.  Venus is about 67 million miles away, or another 31 million miles beyond Mercury.  Venus is second, no doubt, but it’s a distant second.

Anyone know who Crystal Lee is?  She was the 1st runner up in the Miss America pageant last year.  Quite an honor.  But she’s not Miss America and history is likely to forget her.

We love our dog.  My wife has had him twelve years and I’ve been in the picture for more than a third of that.  Until our son was born, one could make the case we treated our dog like our son.  And then our son was born.  Our dog is fully cognizant of the fact that he comes second – I can see it in his eyes.  How can he not?   We love him the same as we always have but this other being who simply stole our hearts.

I guess what I mean to say by all of this is that I feel a bit like Venus, a bit like Crystal Lee, a bit like our dog.  I feel so fortunate that I get to spend the kind of time with my son that few fathers do.  And no question he and I have an attachment that’s rare in this world.  But there’s no getting around it.  My son is just like I was, unequivocally a mama’s boy, through and through.  And so what that means is no matter what kind of time we get to spend together, alone or otherwise, I’m not his first choice.  There’s a difference I can see written across his face when I open up the door in the morning to greet him from when my wife does.  There’s a difference in his manner when I sit down to feed him at the kitchen table from when my wife does.   I can’t ignore when he wants me to put him down, only to run over to his mama’s legs, who’s busy sweeping the floor.  And I don’t see his eyes well up with a deluge of tears followed by rapid panic and cries when I leave the room – as it does when my wife does.

Most will tell me it’s a phase.  What I do know is I’ll have to get over this whether it’s a phase or not.  I have a perfectly grand relationship with my own dad as I feel I always have, with only faded memories of having an unreasonably strong attachment to my own mom.  And maybe that will be the case with my son too.  I can’t know that now.  And many dads wouldn’t even be concerned with this phase.  But just as I was as much the bride at my own wedding as my wife was, and as much as I’d like to admit it doesn’t, this lesser attachment to me, clearly bothers me in a real way.

But seriously, how lucky is my son to have my wife to cling to, and have me to fall back on?  I know that’s precisely the right formula for him to become a well rounded, decent human being in this world.  It’s not like I ever thought he’d could be more attached to anyone but my wife who carried him in her belly for nine months and who nurtures him full time and non-stop for his whole life to this point.  I would never want less attachment to her.  Not at all.  Second is fine, I just prefer the gap be smaller between first and second.  That’s all.

That said, here on out I resolve not to concern myself with being a distant second choice, it’s what we Dad’s do and what I’m becoming good at – and really, there’s no greater honor in this world than being second to my wife.

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