A Surprise Trip Made Me Realize My Daughter’s Growing Up
My daughter always reminds me that I’m just “Dad.”
At 20 years old, she believes she knows the ways of the world. No matter what advice she asks for, she always does the opposite of what I suggest and wonders why things don’t work out to her expectations. Maybe it’s a Dad thing between fathers and daughters. Frankly, she reminds me a lot of myself. Determined best describes our personalities.
She turned 20 last November and was convinced that she was “grown.” She has a habit of casually mentioning things she wants to do, and honestly, because her ideas change so much, some of what she says goes in one ear and out the other. One thing she is intent on doing is travel. That’s something I want both of my kids to do.
We take family trips together, but not as many as I’d like because of my health issues. Pulmonary sarcoidosis tends to slow you down, but so far, knock on wood, it hasn’t stopped me from doing most of the things I enjoy.
For my daughter’s birthday, my wife, my daughter, and one of my daughter’s girlfriends took a trip to Los Angeles. I’ve been to San Jose for business and really liked it, so I figured she would enjoy a few days on the West Coast. She did, but like me, the novelty of being there quickly wore off. And like me, she can at least say, “Been there, done that.”
Over the past two weeks, she kept saying that she’s taking a trip. Again, like most young people, she changes on a dime. In one ear and out the other, especially since I had spent a few days in the hospital. But all along, she’d been telling my wife about her plans during their short travel junket to LA. Like most dads, I’m left out of the loop until I’m needed.
I’m not sure if I was more surprised or upset that she booked a trip to Puerto Rico without sharing her plans with me. For the most part, I do a lot of the planning when we travel as a family. I like to have everything in order before we leave on our trips, thereby avoiding unexpected changes.
I decided not to get involved unless I needed to. It wasn’t my trip, so I had to give her the freedom to do things her way. Admittedly, as her dad, it was hard for me to let her do this by herself without my intervention, but she’s becoming more independent and I have to give her the freedom to grow.
As anyone with health issues can attest to, unconsciously, we tend to hold onto people a little more than others do. In the past few years, I’ve come to hold my wife and kids a little more closely to me, not because I rely on them for a lot, but because it makes me comfortable having them close by. I realize that it’s not a bad thing, as long as I give my kids the freedom to become the people my wife and I envision them to be.
My daughter is on her way back home from her trip. I’m contemplating whether I should tell her that I missed her, mainly because the house has been quiet. She likes to keep the pot stirred like me, and there’s never a dull moment in our home.
Growing up, my mother used to tell my brother and me to “get off of the block,” which means to get out of the neighborhood and explore and experience different things.
I’ve done my fair share of traveling, both nationally and internationally, mostly for business. But I was able to have fun in the places I visited. I envisioned our family traveling to places off the beaten path, but my use of oxygen makes that a little challenging. However, it doesn’t negate the idea.
With my health still good, I need to make more of an effort to make that plan a reality instead of hearing the “what-ifs” echoing in the back of my mind concerning my health issues.
Whether I have the opportunity to travel like I used to or not, it’s cool. At least I know my kids have the desire to “get off of the block” and experience life. Our health issues don’t define us. Our desire to live is what defines us no matter the circumstance.
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