Wow, who woulda thunk it?
Back in February, I had an epiphany for an article idea. It was over an argument with my 18-year-old daughter over lots of things, but mainly her right to drive.
No – last I checked driving is a privilege. The deal made was this: finish high school, get that diploma and the license is yours. Of course I got the, “but if you get my license now, I promise to finish school” rebuttal.
Sorry, nothing doing. I’m your father, not your friend. Plus, that’s the same lame excuse I would have given my folks. And it didn’t work for me either.
Alas, she is her father’s daughter. It’s funny, Dayton City Paper publisher Paul Noah asked if my daughter read my article detailing the trials and tribulations of raising two teen daughters as a single dad.
“Hey Paul, are you kidding me, I’m not afraid of her! No, I hid the paper,” was my response.
But many of you did read it and I heard from lots of Dayton City Paper readers who agreed with me – many of whom are going through the same thing. I seems I struck a nerve and that was the point of the article: You’re not alone.
“Buch,” wrote Pat from Dayton, “stick to your guns, I had three teens at the same time and it was pure hell, but we got through it and they’re now out on their own and very successful.”
“Going through what you are right now, too,” Butch said. “It’s hard because my wife and I are separated and I try to over-compensate for the kids, give them what they ask for, even though I know that’s wrong.”
Ella added, “My daughter is 16 with horrible grades. It’s a constant tug-of-war with her to get anything done. She knows, too, bad grades equals no license. Let’s see if that works.”
“We didn’t let our daughter get her license until she was 19,” Beth said. “[We] just felt she wasn’t ready at 16, not mature enough. Glad we waited as long as we did.”
Teresa added, “My daughter is 19 and still doesn’t have her license. I get talked back to and disrespected and that will not fly around my home. When she gets it together, we’ll talk, but right now she has no job and counts on me.”
Kevin chimed in with, “I’m happy we never had kids.” Kevin, I love my kids, but sometimes I do wonder what life would have been without them.
Teeneka wrote, “I spoiled my kids and if I had it to do all over again, [I] would have done things much differently. [I] tried to give them what I didn’t have and maybe I went overboard, but they turned out OK.”
It’s tough to be a parent in 2014, like I’m sure it was for my folks and theirs. It seems like today there are way too many distractions, and getting behind the wheel of an automobile is a big responsibility. I made the mistake of telling my daughter when I was 16 my folks let me drive to visit friends in Detroit. But that was then and this is now. As you recall, we had a little trouble keeping daughter No. 1 in school, out of trouble and focused. Many people would say, “Oh, it’s just a phase, she’ll grow out of it,” but I thought I wouldn’t live long enough for her to turn 35.
But here we are after all the trouble, three schools, counselors, meds, doctors, etc., she has her license.
What does this mean? Well, the car is to be used for work and school – nothing else. Now, those bounds are being tested. Can I have the car for an overnight? I mean, when does it end? It’s a constant test, truly a game. At press time everything seems to be working. She has her credits to graduate and is planning on attending college at Sinclair. All I can wish for now is when she finds the right man – her Prince Charming – and eventually has kids of her own, the old bible verse will ring true, “you reap what you sow.”
The problem is, I have this terrible feeling I’ll be doing the reaping as she drops the grandkids off to me. Will it repeat itself all over again? If the “reap what you sow” deal comes back to haunt me instead, I’m in trouble, because what I sowed in my youth was a field the size of Nebraska.
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