Presently, I’m on a flight to Vancouver, for the weekend. Just needing to get out of town and clear my head. Looking forward to seeing some old high school friends and share some beverages and laughs. It’s only about 10 C there, and perpetually raining this time of year, but, I do love it as that’s where I graduated high school. If you’ve never been, it’s a picturesque place no matter what time of year. In the house, I used to live in, you could stand at the kitchen window and look out across a large park, onto English Bay where numerous tankers were anchored awaiting their turn to head into port. They would switch the directions they pointed based upon the tide. And, in the background, the mountain skyline that always took my breath away. We were also a ten-minute walk away from Jericho Beach, which was a bonus for a teenage boy, during hot summer days. There is lots of rain, but, I always got past that for all the other amazing benefits. The biggest issue is that it’s a fortune to live there. So, I try and get back once a year, to visit.
However, no matter where I travel, my mind always goes to my three rug rats that I have left behind. I miss them already and yet I’ve only been in the air for fifteen minutes. It’s a short flight but allows enough time to have a pop and chow down on those two delicious coffee cookies OR pretzels (you must choose). They always fill me up (note the sarcasm).
My oldest daughter is fourteen. Yes, a teenager. She has been a teenager, in mind, for many years. I also have a tween girl, who is eleven. Finally, the boy, is eight. Many years ago, someone shared their words of wisdom with me. They told me “Girls and easier to raise when they’re younger, and more difficult when they are older. Boys are the opposite.” I want to punch that person. Complete rubbish. Want to know the truth? Can you handle the truth? Boys are easy to raise…all the time. Girls are NEVER easy to raise. Ever! I know there are many parents shaking their heads and laughing, right now.
I had never experienced teenage hormones prior to my oldest daughter. But, I can tell you, I’m experiencing them now. It’s amazing how someone can change moods from happy to cheeky to sad to disgusted to angry to whatever, so fast. And, that’s just before breakfast. Then there’s the eleven-year-old, who literally loves to poke the proverbial bear, and bug the teenager. I seriously think she has a death wish. The boy is hilarious. He keeps his head down, and out of trouble.
Being a single father, there are days when I wonder if I can handle dealing with this hormonal volcano much less dealing with the second one, which is not far behind. Just when I think I want to run into my room, curl up into a ball, and cry, she surprises me and does something that makes my faith return. Something that makes me realize she is listening to me, and that her old Dad does know a few things.
During these times, we have some wonderful discussions. I most certainly try to monopolize on the moment. I always remind her “I am not your friend. You have friends. I am your Dad. I will always tell you what you need to hear and not necessarily what you want to hear. And, no matter what, I will love you like no other person can. I promise you that will never change.” She hears me and I know she believes it, thank God. The hard part for me is watching her get older. She’s spreading her wings, doing more on her own, making mistakes, and trying new things. It’s hard on a Dad. Deep down, I do feel like she needs me less and I know this feeling won’t go away. And, there are two more kids behind her. I must give her the reins. Can I do it? I know I don’t have a choice if she is to become who she truly is. If they are all to become who they are meant to be.
So, I’m about to land, and there are tears in my eyes and my heart feels like it’s going to burst. The woman across the aisle is staring at me, wondering what’s wrong but I just smile back in reassurance. I take a deep breath and read the quote I attached to this post and remember, I’m their Dad, and I’ll always be their Dad. And, even though I don’t see them all the time, anymore…they know, I’ll always be there. Always.