My kids are 13 and 15. Oftentimes on weekends, I set off on adventures with my 13-year-old son, tromping around whatever woods or swamps or marshes we can find to catch critters.
I do this because he is my favorite and thus deserves all of my attention.
Ha! Some more bad parenting humor for you. The reason he and I have set off on missions together more than my daughter and me is that my daughter is 15 and has a license and a car. By Friday afternoon, she has already booked her weekend with her friends, which invariably involves movies, shopping, Starbucks, shopping, Starbucks, Starbucks and then some Starbucks.
But recently, my wife and son were out of town, so it was just Allie and me for a couple of days. I told her that I could not wait to go to Starbucks with her and her friends and talk about One Direction or whatever it is teenage girls talk about. Or, I offered up, we could just go hang out, the two of us, and have a daddy-daughter weekend. For some reason, she opted for the latter.
We had a great time, and it was a good chance for just the two of us to hang out. I told her I was in charge of transportation and payment, and she could dictate the itinerary. Some highlights from the weekend:
- On Saturday, she wanted to go shopping on King Street in Downtown Charleston. Fair enough, I said. When we got downtown, she realized that she had forgotten her sunglasses. I told we could buy some. We stopped in a store and she looked at a pair. She whispered to me, “Dad, these are $200. Let’s get out of here.” That’s my girl.
- We got to see the best of people in a downtown jewelry store. As we were browsing, a customer was snacking on some gummy worms. The employee at the store told her to get out, as no food was allowed. Some words were exchanged, it was suggested the police would be called, and then some more words got exchanged, some of them of the four-letter variety. There were about a half-dozen other customers in there, and we all traded nervous “what in the world?” glances. My daughter whispered to me, “Time to go.” Wise child.
- We went to a rooftop restaurant to enjoy the view and a cold beverage. My daughter said, “Can they make fruity drinks but without alcohol?” Sure, I said. The waitress came to take our order and my daughter said, “I’d like … um …” She looked at me. I suppose it’s good that my teen daughter doesn’t know any drink names. “Something fruity. Surprise her. Just, you know, no booze in it.”
- That evening, we opted for a minor league hockey game. I learned early on that my daughter has a bloodlust. After about a 10-second fight, she was wide eyed. “ARE THEY GONNA FIGHT AGAIN!?!?!?!?”
- We were sitting high up in the stands, and after the first period, I said to my daughter, “You want to keep sitting here, or do you want to go on an adventure?” “Adventure. Duh.” We left our seats and moseyed down toward the ice. The key in improving a situation like this is never to lie or cheat. But just see how far people will let you go. We approached a section near the goal. Down below were dozens of empty seats. We stopped at the usher. Had he asked for tickets, we would have been on our way. I said, “Mind if we head down there?” “No problem,” he said. Seats on the glass.
- I did provide one incredibly embarrassing moment for my daughter when she was getting some Dippin’ Dots. As she was in line, I noticed there was a restroom right behind me. I told her I was going to use the bathroom while she ordered. I probably should have paid more attention to the fact that there were zero urinals, but I had to go. I slipped into a stall and used the restroom. As I stepped out, I saw a high heel stepping into another stall, closing the door behind. Oh, no. I scurried out and saw my daughter standing there with a look of horror on her face. “That’s the women’s room, isn’t it?” “YES!!! DAAAA-AAAD!” The Dippin’ Dots lady found it hilarious. I’m just glad I could inadvertently step into the political controversy du jour at a minor league hockey game. Yay, me.
It was a great time for the just the two of us, and I’m glad my teenage daughter actually likes spending some QT with me. Maybe next weekend, I’ll surprise and join her and her friends at Starbucks. We can talk about One Direction. Or something. She’ll love that!
Mike Gibbons was born and raised in Aiken, S.C. A graduate of the University of Alabama, he now lives in Charleston. You can e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter @StandardMike.