Our Story Begins
A Spectacular Failure
I have had a lot of successes in my near six-year adventure as a single parent.
But make no mistake. I’ve had a lot (lordy a whoooolllle lot) of failures, too.
This week brought a number of those to the fore. In some ways they are things that I didn’t anticipate and in others . . . well they’re just strange happenstances that technology and modern life had overtaken, something I hadn’t even anticipated.
This all started with a trip to the orthodontist, by the way. Bear with me, it makes sense. One of my twin boys had an appointment at the doctor to get his braces adjusted and see where he’s going. It’s not unusual. Still, I’m working more than a few miles from home so it’s not like I can drop everything and take him most times. I asked my daughter, who is now able to drive, to take him. She’s done it before, so I wasn’t too worried. She called me in the middle of the morning and informed me that I’d gotten her schedule wrong. She needed to be called out from school so she could go get him.
Failure number one. (It’s a small one, I’ll admit)
Fast forward a bit. It’s now 15 minutes past appointment time, the kids have left the house more than an hour ago . . . and the orthodontist is calling asking if I’m going to make it to the appointment or not.
You can imagine what’s going through my head. So I call my daughter’s cell phone. Nothing.
I text her. Nothing.
I call again. I text again.
You can imagine where my head is going right now. Bear in mind, too, my daughter has not had an amazing track record for smart vehicular decisions in the last few weeks, either. I’m not convinced things are good.
Related: Our Story Begins: That Terrible Call
Ten minutes later a call from the same orthodontist is my daughter.
“My phone died and I couldn’t use Google maps. I was lost.”
Aaaand . . . there’s failure number two.
“You have been there before!”
“Not without my phone guiding me,” she says. I appropriately roll my eyes, though she cannot see.
It gets better. On my way home, roughly 5:30pm, a full 2 1/2 hours after the appointment, my daughter . . . who has just driven to the orthodontist calls. She’s at a Wells Fargo charging her phone because she doesn’t know how to get home. Without a phone. In a city where she’s been a dozen times before, even driven.
Yes. I lectured that somehow, some way, I was able at her age to get around not just my city but several states without a phone. I also reminded her . . . a phone is just that: a phone. It’s for emergencies. It’s not a study tool at school, she has a laptop for that! All of these things I imparted.
That . . . and the fact she could ask for directions!
Failure number three: prepared for life minus technology.
This brought up a lot of things I realized my kids need to know. I’m not a huge NRA card carrying 2nd Amendment man, but as a born and bred Midwesterner I feel like my kids should at least know how a gun operates, how to shoot one, how to clean one, and how dangerous and powerful they are. They should know how to use a knife – even a Swiss Army knife – without cutting themselves.
My boys are tired of hearing from me how to treat women.
“If you ask someone out,” I say, and they now inevitably answer “you pay the bill! We know, Dad, you never stop telling us!”
They should know how to change a tire and change the oil in their car and how to change a radiator hose.
It may not seem like they are things they have to worry about. But what if they’re by themselves on the side of a road? What if, god forbid, they found a gun somewhere . . . would they know how to safely handle it and get it to authorities?
Yes . . . they’re not the biggest things in the world to have to worry about. But I worry. The reason?
I don’t have a lot of time left with my kids. It’s abundantly clear they still have a lot to learn.
What about you.. do you feel like there are so many lessons and not enough time?