Are you ASKING me or TELLING me?

Sometime in the summer of 2005, Msgr. Mark Hagemoen (my predecessor as Director of the Youth Ministry Office and then serving as Vicar General for the Archdiocese) came into my office and shut the door behind him. I knew it was going to be serious.

“Clay,” Father Mark started, “We are going to second (as in secondment…not as in “after first”) Rob to the Chancery to serve as an assistant to Archbishop Roussin.”

At the time, Rob was the administrator of the YMO and in essence, my right-hand man. Needless to say, I was very shocked.

I respectfully countered “Are you asking me or telling me?”

Father Mark’s reply made it clear in no uncertain terms: “I would much rather work in cooperation than opposition.”

The writing was on the wall, and I respectfully and obediently accepted the proposal. After all, who was I to question the diocesan leadership? Rob’s temporary secondment became a permanent transfer after close to 10 years of Rob working for the YMO. However, it’s worked out extremely well for everyone, as Rob is now serving as the assistant for Archbishop Miller, and I’ve been blessed to work with people like Krissy, Sharon and Faye. To this day, Father Mark and I still chuckle about how much “say” I had in the process.

Fast forward to this past Saturday: I took our 3 kids to a play-date at the Estradas while Gail tutored in our home. I received a very generous offer from my friend Mike to go to that night’s highly-anticipated hockey game between our red-hot Canucks and the Conference-leading San Jose Sharks. Coming a day after our entire family received comp tickets to the Vancouver Giants game; I was giddy with my good fortune.

Knowing we had planned for a nice family night at home that evening, yet also knowing of my absolute love for watching the Canucks live (especially when I don’t have to pay for the ticket), I anticipated it being a tough sell to 2 of my family members in particular. Contrary to popular belief, I’m not talking about Jacob and Kayla.

I pulled Sean aside and asked him if he knew who the Canucks were playing that evening.

“Of course” Sean answered. “They’re playing the Sharks. It’s going to be a great game.”

Summoning strength similar to my encounter with Father Mark almost 4 years ago, I then asked Sean “Is it okay if Daddy goes to the game?”

That’s right…I actually ASKED my 7 yead-old son if I, his 34 year-old Dad, could go to the game. I stopped just short of asking him to brush my teeth and tuck me in when I got home.

Sean’s eyes filled with tears, and I knew they weren’t tears of joy.

“Yes, Daddy. You can go.” I figured that Sean was upset for 2 main reasons: that he couldn’t go to the game with me, and more generally that we wouldn’t be together that night. Sweet kid, that Sean.

Then, I picked up the phone to call my lovely wife.

“Honey…Mike asked me to go to the Canucks’ game toinght. Can I go?”

Recalling our plans for a family night, Gail and I went back and forth for a few minutes on the phone. She didn’t care that the Canucks had turned their season around with an impressive run of wins. Or that San Jose is one of the premiere teams in the league. Or even that I didn’t have to pay for the ticket.

“I guess so” she replied. “Besides, are you asking me or telling me?”

My answer was hardly clarifying: “Uh, thanks babe!” Sweet woman, that Gail!

I was (and am) very grateful for my wonderful family. Gail in particular takes really good care of me, and hardly says no without good reason. Some would call me spoiled. I prefer to use the term “blessed.” And “deserving” haha. The night turned out great, as the Canucks won 3-1 in an entertaining tilt, and the boys had their cousins over to play all night while Gail and Kayla did whatever females like to do.

As for me, I find it quite amusing that I ended up TELLING my wife that I was going to the game, but ASKING my son for permission.

I guess that’s what happens when your son is a 2-time Ultimate Canucks Fan winner!


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