I have an extra driver in the family, which naturally brings worry. Will she pick out the right brand of bread that I send her to go get from the grocery store? What about my milkshake? Will it bring boys to the yard and will this cause problems? And most importantly, will she be safe as she takes me from one errand to another. Yes, there is a lot to worry about as a father with a newly driving daughter.
She passed her test on the first try. I was very proud of her and explained that it was a big responsibility. Then I sent her off to drop off my mail at the post office. Yes, I have a mailbox but where is the fun in that? I am also considering sending her to the automotive store for blinker fluid, but that dad joke might be too cruel. No, it’s not, I’m going to do that right now.
And yes, I do have other worries. Texting while driving, drinking and driving, driving texted friends that are drinking. All normal worries, but at the same time, not really that much. It’s been amazing to see my daughter grow. Not to get too sentimental, there are times when I am in total awe of her. One day she was asking me to do a ponytail and the next she is driving to pick up a friend.
The pandemic has been rough on all of us but for my teenagers, I’m worried if it’s been rougher on them than me. I’ve always had my best friend to talk to every day. My wife and I spent the months of isolation hunkered down together. We would talk at night or hide in the closet just to get a moment’s peace. But with my teenagers, they were robbed of some of their milestones.
So I’m not so much worried about my daughter going out into the world without me. I’m excited for her. So much so that I told her it was time to go out and do “teenage stuff,” except I didn’t say stuff. She’s a woman now, she can hear her dad cuss. Let’s ignore the 5 million swear words she’s already heard me say.
It’s true though, I want her out in the world living life. I want her messing around with her friends and going to movies. I want her to have sleepovers and talk about romances and drama. I want her to develop her own stupid inside jokes with friends. There is a part of me that remembers what I was like at that age, and I try to ignore those memories.
I was a good kid, but still, I did things that dad me would have been pissed about. As a joke, 10 of us peed on a friend’s door handle and waited for him to open it. At the time, it seemed very funny. He thought it was after then trying to pee on us. Now it seems immature and stupid. I would prefer that my daughter not pee on door handles.
Or drink at all. Or experiment with sex. Or sneak out by pushing the car out in neutral so that the engine won’t wake up her parents. Ok, now I’m concerned. I think I might have been a jerk teenager.
On the other hand, so much more gets done that I just don’t want to do anymore. I absolutely hate going to the grocery store multiple times a week. I plan meals weekly. I do a big shop on Mondays. I’ve gotten really good at it over the 14 years I’ve been an at-home dad. And there has never been a week where we didn’t run out of something.
There are other chores that I’m just done with as well. Dropping kids off for a playdate when I have a deadline looming or picking my wife up for a work function where she has to wine and dine clients. That has now become my daughter’s job.
I suppose I should feel guilty about it, but honestly, I don’t. She owes me. She once broke our kitchen table in half. She has destroyed most of my screens. She smashed a metal gear in my garage door opener. A metal gear! How do you even do that? So yes, this is a bit of payback. Let dad just be a little lazy. Just a tad bit. Dad is tired.
She gladly goes and often volunteers. She drives, and drives, and drives. This week she went to the grocery store for me and I gave her my debit card. Then the family wanted ice cream, so I gave her my debit card again. And yesterday she picked asked to take the car to the carwash. She didn’t need my debit card at all. She had just kept it in her purse…
Crap. Crap. Crap.
So, this is the payoff. None of these things are free. And as I’m busy being happy that some minor chores have been taken off my list, she has taken control of my bank account. That would certainly explain some recent charges. Not that I go to Target a lot, but I’m pretty sure I didn’t last week. She’s not running errands, I think, as she has played me in the long con.
But in her defense, I did tell her to go out and do teenage stuff.