Guys, move in close because I want to whisper something to you.
Minnesota lawmakers are considering moving up this year's fishing opener by a week to avoid clashing with Mother's Day. I would never get in the way of a man and his mother, and I'm guessing brunch is in your future either way.
But if Dad's guilt stems from leaving his beloved wife and the munchkins behind to catch the big one, I say (quietly):
Mom will be OK. I promise you. There are just a few things you might want to do ahead of time to make sure that she doesn't become completely unhinged, waking up to a quiet and freshly scrubbed house, with the dishwasher running and fresh coffee brewing and the first four seasons of "Mad Men" DVDs wrapped with a perky bow, and the kids dressed and ready to be picked up by Super Nanny for a day of awesome, yet subtly educational activities.
But I'm getting ahead of myself.
I was a young mother once, and there is no more intense love than that which one feels for one's precious progeny, their sticky hands and soft kisses and construction paper cards that I guard, still, with my life.
The only thing that comes remotely close to that level of euphoria was winning the Powerball of parenting: A few hours alone in my house.
My friend Maria, the mother of two rambunctious sons, confirms this with her "Happy Dance," an annual ritual she performs each Mother's Day as her dear husband, Jeff, and the boys kiss her goodbye and leave for the day.
Talk of changing the date for the fishing opener to avoid the Mother's Day conflict has been considered for years.
In 1989 (the year I became a mother, but I swear I had nothing to do with this), legislators required the fishing season to begin two Saturdays before Memorial Day weekend to allow resorts three weekends of business in May.
Before that, the season opened on the Saturday nearest May 15.
This year and for the next three years, Mother's Day will again fall on opening weekend of the fishing opener. Therein lies the problem, to which I ask: What problem?
I realize, of course, that many mothers in our state also are skilled anglers and, according to the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, their numbers are growing. I trust, in this case, that you will be out on the lake as a family, building memories as you participate in this rich Minnesota tradition.
If the children are too young to fish, I am certain that hubby has already said, with gusto: "You go, my sweet. With your girlfriends. I'll stay home with the kids for the day. I mean, take the whole weekend."
I know. I'm psychic, right?
But if mom, like me, prefers her first and last encounter with Sir Walleye to be on a plate with pilaf, I suggest a few things:
Express your guilt as you leave.
Tell her you will make it up to her, then do, with the best spa package money can buy.
Reiterate that time away will only deepen your mutual desire, as long as you pry the kids out of your bed and shower first.
She, refreshed and renewed, will tell you how much she missed you, and how she counted the hours until you returned, her hero, and the house became noisy and messy again.
And, being the dutiful husband that you are, you will buy it, hook, line and sinker.