Rights of Passage

Rite of PassageIn some very different ways this weekend we crossed through some rights of passage in the house – and I would say came out on the other side mostly OK.

First, 11.5 became the first of the two to go to a Sweet 16 party.  In this case it was the older sister of one of her best friend’s.  So Friday night, off we went to a place so I could drop her at the event.  She’ll be getting onto the bar/bat mitzvah circuit by the end of this year so not a bid deal – plus her sister did a great job prepping me for this over the last 18 months with bar and bat mitzvah’s all over the place.

In a right of passage passing within the right of passage, this was the first time (at least the first I can recall) where one daughter went into the closet of the other to pull clothing.  They are getting a little closer in size, so hopefully this will work.

But we weren’t done with that.  For 13.5 there is a semi-formal this June as she and her friends leave the friendly confines of middle school and head for high school.  Admittedly, I am still a little fuzzy on the details of this (I appear to be the only parent in town lost on this one) she does need a dress.

Initially, I told her we could go grab dinner and do some dress shopping while 11.5 was at the sweet 16.  As good as I have become at handling these things I get at 13+ dress shopping with dad is not a highlight of a weekend.

So, I agreed to take two additional 13-year-olds to the mall.  So me and a trio of 13-year-olds.  Clearly, shopping with dad would not have worked, so in the next right of passage the was crossed, off went the girls seeking out dresses, bras, body butter and whatever else they could find.

This is the first time I’ve turned either of my girls loose at the mall.  A little protective yeah.  But we do what we are comfortable with.  Sure enough, 40 minutes into my nice restful sitting outside the Apple Store I got the text – she found the dress.  So off to Charlotte Rouse where I dropped the card (after making her try the outfit on for me).

As the girls grow up – the right’s of passage get a little greater and a little bolder.  This is where all my theory on teaching right and wrong comes into play.  Time to find out if I did my part right – as the next right of passage awaits.

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Being Able to Step Back

foot stepsThe words of warning are well-intentioned I know, and kind of redundant.  As a single parent of a now 13.5 year old and an 11-year-old I’ll have two girls in the teens together.  Yeah, they warn of the teen years (especially for girls), as of now my strategy to survival is being able to take a step back.

Right now it’s more the case with the older than the younger, there is a lot of feeling out to see just how far she can go – and at the same time some clinging to make sure she stays safe.  I fully know this will change over the next few years.

As she tries to branch out, I try to let her do it and explore the world around her.  I cherish the moments she decides to cling to her childhood and just hang – but I also want her to be independent and able to be out in the world.

Being able to step back though is not quite as easy as it sounds.  You have to be willing to live with mistakes and lessons.  Being able to step back means giving up some control so she can get out and explore the world.

Friday I went to pick her up after school at a friend’s house to find her there with her friend and a boy.  The plan was they were going to go out to dinner with a third girl and all come back to my house.  This would have been the first boy (minus the kids in the neighborhood) coming over.

Today its a trip to the mall with a friend with a friend.  We don’t live close enough for two 13 year old’s to make it to the mall on their own.  The friend’s mother is driving them there and will likely be in the mall.  I fully expect the two of them to venture off and go make up shopping or something like that.

At this moment I ask myself if I did my job to prepare her for this.  Did I show her how to be aware of her surroundings?  Can she find her way from end to end?  I think yes, but we’ll find out.

With a deep breath today I find myself being able to step back….

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Sign of the Times, Perhaps

Sign-Of-The-TimesAs I do on most Saturday’s I was up relatively early (about 630) and out early.  But today instead of doing my usual Saturday morning errands (produce, Trader Joe’s etc) I was taking 13.5 into the city for a camp friend’s Bat Mitzvah.  As I was driving through the Midtown Tunnel I was thinking back to when I was a little older than 13.5, and going into the city via the bus to Jamaica and then the subway.  Call it a sign of the times perhaps, but I’m not sure my kids will be doing that anytime too soon.

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I try not to be one to harken back to the “good old days” but I can’t help but think that way sometimes.

I can remember when I was growing up that my bicycle was freedom, and it took me all over.  To the mall, to friend’s near and far, out of the day and back when the streetlights came on.  Today, I cringe a little when the girls are out riding their bikes around the neighborhood. And it’s not that I think they’ll have a problem.  It’s that the drivers here just don’t seem too focused on the road.   Call it a sign of the times perhaps.

Back to the city – I can remember getting on the N6 bus with my friend and heading to Jamaica where we jumped an E train.  Next stop (for us) was Fifth Ave.  I take the LIRR into the city 10-12 (sometimes more) times a month.  Again, I have a tough time seeing either of my girls jumping a train and heading into the city anytime soon.

Again, it’s not that I think they couldn’t navigate the intricacies of the LIRR (the subway is more of a user experience) but rather I see the people hanging around Penn Station and I’m just not comfortable.  Call it a sign of the times perhaps.

One morning this week while waiting for the morning bus with the girls, we were joking about 13.5 walking to high school next year.  I used the line from when I was a kid that I walked to school each day, up hill both ways.  While the girls didn’t completely understand the line, the times there are a changing.  Call it a sign of the times perhaps.

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Home and Liking It

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A week after minor surgery on my right knee, I packed up and spent just less than a week in Las Vegas for work.  If you’ve even been to Vegas you know what the un-Vegas initiated don’t know, even with cabs and rides nothing is less than a 10 minute walk.  From the front door of a hotel to a restaurant you can log more than a mile inside.

Add into that some shopping in the miles of malls within the hotels and two-million square feet of the Vegas Convention Center for the 2013 Consumer Electronics Show-and well its a lot walking.  Did I mention this was a week after knee surgery?

Then there was missing my girls.

I have a great situation at home with child care right now.  Between my full-time sitter and my mom I usually have plenty of options.  But for me sometimes it’s not that easy.  I really want to be here for my children and more importantly I want them to know I am here for them.

There are times I have to do what I do for work.  I have a bunch of 1-3 day travel coming up, and then a return to Vegas for the National Association of Broadcasters show in April and I will do what I have to do.  But still, there is nothing better than waking up this Saturday morning and making some fresh bread for the girls and just hanging.  The Saturday errands are on hold for now (perhaps to Sunday).  Liking it here right now.

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