Once a Parent…
“Hey R! What’s up?”
“I think something’s wrong with the car. I pressed the brake pedal and it didn’t move.”
“Oh, that’s no good.”
“I made it through the intersection, OK, but I’m a little nervous to drive it.”
“We’ll get it looked at.”
“OK, it was all over the road in the snow, too.”
… and that’s when I started to panic.
Bad tires and no breaks in the snow? Not for MY daughter!
I checked out the car and sure enough, the tire tread was pretty low.
So, we swapped cars. I took her 10 year old car, and she took the new car I got earlier this year.
What? I don’t really HAVE to go anywhere if I don’t want to. And she’s got school. That’s important!
The Switch Up
Yeah, I don’t know when it happened, either. I’ve always made sure my daughter has everything she needs… and some of the things she doesn’t. But, I’ve never been the parent that goes super overboard nuts. She’s never had $100 pair of jeans, but she’s had clothes. She’s never had the latest technology, but she’s had a cell phone. She didn’t have a nice car, but she was definitely able to get around.
So, how on Earth did she wind up with the new car I just bought for ME?
Honestly? I think it’s guilt.
I don’t do as much for her as an older teen. She’s mostly responsible for her own stuff.
I don’t really see her as much, which means a lot less “treats” here and there when we’re out.
I don’t have “talks” as frequently as before. Unless she needs some moral advice, I let her be.
I know it’s her growing up and wanting her own privacy… wanting to be an adult… wanting to push her independence.
But, I just don’t feel like I’m being enough of a father anymore.
A landlord, yes. But that “me and my kid” feeling is fleeting at best.
So, I get the car… my old baby! I actually love this car.
Well, I’d love it if it started! Yep. Somehow, just as I swap cars with her, the battery is dead. Hmmm… that’s super-convenient.
The car’s jumped and I get it on the highway. Yeah… I do LOVE this car. Set the cruise control. Set the cruise control. Set the cruise con…
And the cruise control doesn’t work.
“When did the cruise control stop working?”
“A couple months ago. Sorry, I forgot to tell you.”
“Anything else I should know?”
“Oh yeah, the passenger side door doesn’t work from inside.”
Guilt has turned to anger.
I’ll get the tires done… and now the battery… because that’s safety stuff. But, she’s on her own with the other wonky stuff!
There’s got to be an in-between, right? A parent “comes to the rescue,” but at some point life’s responsibility is on the child.
There comes that point where it’s on them, doesn’t there?
I mean, I’m a fully self-sufficient adult here. At SOME point she’ll be one, too.
Well, except that time my mom gave me some money for a deposit on the house. OK, and that time she reminded me what was important when taking a job. Oh, yeah, there was this morning where I had to borrow her car because “my” car has a dead battery.
I was really hoping that “always a parent” thing was just something people said.
So, where’s your balance? Where do you draw the line between coming to the rescue and just taking care of their stuff for them?
Juggling more than balancing,
…and the cruise control switch is only gonna cost a few bucks. I’ll take the passenger side door apart this weekend.
Now, you can follow my shenanigans on Twitter.