Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Proud "Dad"...

My step-daughter, Jennifer, and I have a great relationship. I came along when she was 15 (she's almost 25 now), and still in the throes of her teenage angst. We decided early on that she didn't need another parent, she already had two, but would prefer to have an adult friend to help her see things and offer truthful advice without trying to be a parent at the same time. I never told her "don't do this" or "do that". Instead, I would explain the pros and cons from my perspective and let her make the choice. And usually, that worked out just fine :) Of course, that didn't lessen the friction that would sometimes come up between her and her mom, but I was in the unique position to see both sides and offer my assessments. Sometimes one or the other of them was in error, and I would let them know that, but usually, it was just a matter of Jenn wanting to fight with someone (anyone !!!), choose her mom (who would not fight with her) and then calming down from whatever had really been bothering her and peace would once again reign. Franna will NOT fight at all, trust me on this. Jenn is (much) more emotional, Franna is (much) more logical and I am somewhere in the middle. That means sometimes I want to pick a fight too, but I know that it is stupid and a waste of time even while I am trying to do it :)

One of the things that I managed to pass on to her is my love for the automobile (and unfortunately the knack for driving a bit TOO far over the posted speed limit :). For her 17th birthday, she had a party and invited many of her school and 4H friends over. That was the year that I bought her a tool kit. Not a cheap one, but a nice big one with lots of tools for a variety of situations. She thought it was great, although I think that some of her girlfriends were a bit puzzled over it as a gift choice for a 17 year old girl. She still has that kit and we have added a few odds and ends to it over time. She always wanted me to teach her how to do things on her or my vehicles, but due to college (first mine, then hers) and living on opposite sides of the state once she left home, we never really got a chance to do this. She learned a few things, she can change her own oil, filters and sparkplugs... Anyway, just before Thanksgiving last year, she purchased a 1991 Firebird to replace her beloved PT Cruiser that was totaled in an accident (not her fault). Between Thanksgiving and Christmas, she started having problems with it not starting all of time, and after replacing the battery (it needed to go anyway, trust me :), we decided that it was the starter. She managed to get it over to our house for Christmas, but with all the snow and such that we had on the ground, we never got a chance to actually get it replaced. So I did what any Dad would do, I bought her a Chilton's auto repair manual, a new starter and sent her on her way back home to the east side of the state. Actually, I was less than thrilled about this turn of events, but there wasn't anything I could do about it as she needed to get back to go to work. Once she got back, she dinked around for a couple of weeks trying to find someone who would help her change it out, but finally this past Monday, she decided just to do it herself and get it done. She called and we talked before she started and reviewed the process a little bit, cleared up a couple of items she was unclear on and I gave her a few pointers about safely putting a car up on the jack stands and such. I didn't hear anything for a couple of hours, then she called and told me that she had the old one out! There you go, that was half the battle! So we talked for a few minutes about the potential gotcha's for putting the new one in. I didn't hear anything from her for a couple hours again, then she called to say that it was done, and I listened to the car start over the phone :) :) :) It sounded just fine to me, no awful grinding noises or sounds like things are about to fly off or anything like that. Thanks Jenn for this proud "dad" moment :)



Franna said...

... and proud Mom moments. Make that proud WIFE and Mom.

:-) Franna