Teachable Moments

It’s not lost on me that I just don’t update as much as I did when the girls were younger.  I could say time and commitments are the reason – and probably build a good case. But the reality is when my first post about bra shopping (more than seven years ago) this blog was about my day-to-day as  an only parent of two girls. While that hasn’t changed, my scope has.  We’ve changed from dad and two girls to a dad and two teens.  I do less parenting and spend more time looking for teachable moments.

To be clear, I’m still a parent.  I still get to say, “no.”  But I’m far more effective when I’m able to use a moment to convey a lesson.  It was just last week I realized I’ve come to embrace those teachable moments.

This all crystalized when 17.0 (I can’t believe that either) went to take her road test last week.  I just got a new car, and I had the temporary registration taped to the inside of the windshield.  Honestly, I had never looked at it.  I was just waiting for the regular registration to show up in the mail as it would in the course of business.

However, the road test day showed up before the regular registration – and it turns out the temp was not printed well and arguable the expiration date for the registration on my car was illegible.  Arguable because I was able to read it and the woman at the New York State Department of Motor Vehicles office was able to read it – but the tester claimed he could not.

I could see the disappointment in 17.0’s face when the tester said he could not get in the car and take her for her road test due to the registration.  We headed for the nearest DMV office, waited on a relatively short line and got the sticker.  On the way back to the testing area, 17.0 asked me why I didn’t argue with the tester more.


It’s time for 17.0 to understand that there are times it futile to argue with people who aren’t her father – there was no way I was changing the tester’s mind, so I went for solving the problem.

Both girls are traveling with international destinations this summer.  A couple of years ago when the girls were in camp there was a trip to Canada and it turns out their American Express debit cards did not work internationally.

And she passed her road test, wave if you see her drive by you.

This year, both girls are out in the world with credit cards.


Now I’m trying to explain the importance of credit ratings to both girls, and get them to understand they’ll get a bill eventually.

We’ll see how that goes I suppose.

So instead of semi-pithy realities of being an only parent – I’ll try to document those teachable moments now – and a bit about how those lessons are received.

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A Road Not Taken

The Road Not TakenWith all due respect to Robert Frost, today when I reached the point where the road divided – I took the one I had not taken in the past.  To understand this road not taken, I have to think back to one of the first posts ever on Dad The Single Guy, The Training Bra.

Back in early 2010 my then 9.5 was about ready to need a bra, but needed some time to think about it.  So, I let her do her thing while I got ready to go bra shopping.

Two roads diverge in the yellow wood,

And sorry I could not travel both

And be one traveler, long I stood

And looked down one as far as I could

To where it bent in the undergrowth;

Fast forward to late summer 2014, and my nearly 12.0 is ready for her first bra.  Just as I let the then 9.5 call her shot in 2010 – 12.0 called her shot this time, and asked her sister to go with her.

Then took the other, just as fair,

And having perhaps the better claim,

Because it was grassy and wanted wear,

Though as for that passing there

Had worn them really about the same,

This time I would stand aside.  I did check with now 14.0 to make sure she wanted to do help her sister – and then I dropped them at the store and headed for physical therapy (my pinched nerve) and let them go at shopping.

An hour later, having followed my road not taken, I returned and the three of us went to dinner.

Yes, we all reach cross roads in life every day.  Some are notable, others are simply forks in the road – but we make a choice on the roads taken and the road not taken.  Today, the road not taken was the right path for us.

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The Road To Recovery

Two days after ACL surgery and I can say the biggest accomplishment is getting into the shower.  Doesn’t sound like much I know but its a start.  I have to say the biggest hurdle was getting my mind to say its OK to put my leg down and take the small step over the ledge into the shower stall.

There’s a mix of pain and throbbing in my leg where the surgery was.  None of it is consistent, and I am really trying to keep off the Percocet.  Usually I can wait out some pain, or ice it down to ease the pain.

People I know who have done other procedures (heart, shoulder, back) say there is a feeling that your skin is ripping apart.  I don’t have that feeling.

I do have the feeling that the anesthesia is still in me.  I can easily fall asleep minutes after waking up.  And it took me more than a day to re-hydrate post-op.  I just could not get enough to drink.  It was the first time I’ve ever felt that dehydrated.  In the recovery room, my throat was so dry I almost choked on a Fig Newton.

But now I am trying to prove to myself more than anything that I can do things.  I set out in the car this morning to “take care of a few things” largely to be able to tell myself I can go and get into the car and do things if I needed to.  I really did not expect any issues, but still I just didn’t know.

So, while I’ve led this independent life for the last 20+ years, I actually have to accept some help as I apply mind over matter.  The good news is there are people around who can help me out too.

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