Dorms and Dads

I helped my daughter move into her dorm yesterday. Freshman year! She was so excited, and I was excited for her. Although she is still six years old in my mind, I am enjoying watching her become a young woman and take her place in this world. She is self-confident and knows what she wants from life. I wish I had been like that at 18 years old.

The day did not go exactly as planned. Last weekend we went dorm room shopping. We picked up the typical stuff: refrigerator, microwave, new printer, desk supplies, cleaning supplies, and some new clothes. Its all been sitting in the studio waiting for move day. I loaded everything in the back of my truck yesterday morning and headed out to meet her and her mom. And the dreaded battery light was on in my truck. Crap!

I took off anyway, praying all the way, “Just let me get her moved in. Let us get everything to the campus, and deal with this later.” Needless to say, it didn’t work out that way. Half way there my air conditioning quit. Double crap! When I was almost to her house, the radio stopped. Dammit! “Please, just one more hour!” But no, the truck died as I pulled into the yard.

We took everything out of my truck and started putting it into cars. Her friends showed up to help. Somehow we managed to get everything packed into two cars, and get it all safely to the campus. We spent the day helping her move in and arrange her room. The cable I bought wasn’t long enough, so her TV still isn’t hooked up, but I will fix that Sunday. At the end of the day she was happy, excited, and ready for her first night in the dorm. I, on the other hand, had a truck that wouldn’t start and no way home.

A friend of my daughter’s that helped us move said the alternator was bad and he would replace it for me. So we bought a new alternator and he installed it for me. And it only required one extra trip the parts store. It’s usually three or four for me. I was able to drive home with no issue, and the truck started again this morning. All is well.

Driving home I remembered a similar incident with my father. I was a senior in high school and had won a state math contest which qualified me for the national exam in Chicago. On the morning of my flight out, my father’s car died on the interstate. No matter what he did, it wouldn’t start, and he was worried I would miss my flight. A police officer stopped to see what the problem was, and my father explained I was supposed to already be at the airport.

My father talked the police officer into taking me to the airport so I wouldn’t miss my flight. We put my bags in the back of his car. I hugged my mom and dad bye, and off we went. While I was checking my luggage, I heard my mother yelling my name. My father had got the car started, and they were able to get to the airport before I left. I remember my mother crying because she thought I would leave before she got there. I remember my father looking helpless but never fully understood why until yesterday.

Fathers want to be all things to their kids. We want to give them the world, and make everything OK. Sometimes it just doesn’t work out that way though, and there’s not much you can do about it. That doesn’t change the feeling of being helpless though. It’s OK Dad. You got me to the airport on time — maybe not the way you planned, but it all worked out. Thanks Dad.

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