The First Nine

Sam turned nine last week, and his big birthday wish was to play miniature golf as a family.  So off we went to Putters Wild, an Alaskan-themed extreme 3D putt-putt course here in Anchorage.

“Nine holes or the full 18?” the owner asked.

Her question took me aback.  I had a little boy standing next to me who was suddenly – almost instantly – nine.  As in half of 18.  And don’t most kids move out when they turn 18?  How can we already be halfway through the intense years of raising this child?  Halfway through setting a place for him at the dinner table, halfway through family vacations for four, and halfway through peeking into his top bunk each night to see what book he fell asleep reading.

“We’ll play the full 18,” I declared.  And maybe a few more, I thought.

People warned us it would go quickly, but I had no idea.

Putters Wild was a hit, and we even got to keep the fancy 3D glasses.

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putters wild putters wild

Other than the putt-putt excursion, it was a pretty low key day.  We started with one of his favorites – cinnamon rolls – for breakfast, and he surprised me by requesting Quizno’s for lunch.  Who knew he liked roast beef sandwiches with tomatoes, pickles, and cucumbers?  I also noticed he put gel in his hair before we left the house.  Hair gel?  When did this start?!

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His big birthday bash was still a few days away, so it was a simple ice cream cake to celebrate that night.  The gal at Dairy Queen somehow forgot the “TH” in birTHday (seriously?!) but the cake still tasted great.  And back at home Sam was thrilled to receive his very own pocket knife.  A real one.

He also received a spy set from his sister.  We stopped at Over the Rainbow Toys to get a gift for a school friend’s birthday, and I somehow lost Maggie.  I fully expected her to be shopping for her cherished miniature animals (she had come armed with her wallet) but she was nowhere to be found.  Imagine my surprise when she finally came strutting towards me, awkwardly carrying a purple bag while trying to stuff $4 of change into her wallet.  The little rascal had sneaked off to buy a gift for her brother – with her own money – and even had the salesperson gift wrap it!  She was pretty proud, but might change her tune in the future if he decides to spy on her with these high tech toys!

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I sorta liked the days of baby shampoo, peanut butter sandwiches, and Thomas the Tank Engine.  But here we sit, with hair gel, 8″ Quizno’s subs, and pocket knives.  I guess I’d better get on board with it, because someday these will be the years that get me all misty-eyed and sentimental.

So here’s to the next nine holes of our adventure.  We might drift into the rough occasionally, and every hole has its hazards.  But I know one thing:  this family wants to play the entire course together – even those potentially pesky teenage holes.

And who is to say that 18 holes is all you get?  The view from the next courses will undoubtedly be different, but hopefully we’ll all still be around to play.  I’m not a golfer, but sign me up.

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