"Temporality is part of the truth" -- Chuck Klosterman

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

The Drop-off and Pick-up Thing

It's about a boy dancing or something.
Tonight my fifteen-year-old daughter is out with a friend to attend the musical Billy Elliot at the world famous Denver Center for the Performing Arts. And perhaps this sounds like a non sequitur, but this makes me feel like a better father.

A few points of explanation:

If you've been paying special attention to the information about my family in this blog, you will know that I have two daughters,15 and 11, who live with their mother in Greeley, which is about an hour's drive north of where I live in the Denver area. I don't see them nearly enough.

I haven't mentioned them much in this blog. Most of the personal family posting is about my new son because he pretty much has consumed my life for the past six months. Plus, my girls occasionally read this stuff and I hate to embarrass them. (That last part is patently untrue, but the fact is our living situation is a ticklish subject and it's difficult to write about it here where I'm pretty glib about things most of the time.)

My oldest, Persephone, is heavily into the theater program at her school; plus, she's currently working a summer job at the University of Northern Colorado's theater department. She's been to the DCPA complex several times before, through school activities and theater conferences.

For Christmas last year, my wife (Persephone's step-mother, just to be clear) and I gave her the Billy Elliot tickets and told her she could take anyone she wanted. She chose to take a school chum.

This evening I drove to Greeley to pick them up and take them downtown to the theater. It was touch and go there for a few minutes because I missed the Speer exit off of I-25 (I always miss the Speer exit) and had to drive in a big circle along one-way downtown streets to get to the front of the theater complex. We passed through blocks of road construction and found that there was no easy way to drop them off. I eventually just pulled over at a corner a block away and told them to meet me there after the show.
The DCPA is an architectural wonder.

(I'm only slightly worried that they might be on an opposite corner when I arrive; Persephone has a mediocre sense of direction. But that's not the point. Just one more bit of info and I'll get to the point.)

I will go back to pick them up in an hour or so, and they will spend the night here. Tomorrow morning we will awaken early to head back to Greeley so that Persephone can be at work at nine a.m.

So what about any of this makes me a good dad? I did leave my fifteen-year-old daughter and her friend on their own in big, bad downtown Denver. Is that good parenting? (Whatever your answer, this, too, is not the point.)

Here's the point: I never drive my daughters anywhere. Not that we never go places or do anything as a family. We do things together all the time, and usually I drive. What I don't get to do is drop them off somewhere and then a couple of hours later go pick them up. Parents do that all the time, right? I remember my parents, and friends' parents, all the time taking my friends and me to the movies or soccer games or other places around town and picking us up afterwards. I have done this a total of once before with my teenage daughter.

Last December, my girls were with us for the week of New Year's, and Persephone went to a church dance with a friend. She said her friend's mom would pick them up if I dropped them off. At about 11:00 that night, I got a call from Persephone asking for me to come pick her up. There was a mix up and she and her friend had no ride home. All I could think of as I drove the twenty minutes across town was how awesome this was. My daughter called because she knew I would come. She kept apologizing and thought I would be mad, but she knew I would come. I realized that this was the first time I had ever done this and couldn't have been happier that I was able to do this for her.

Tonight is the second time, and I'm elated. I trust that my teenage daughter can handle herself in downtown Denver, and I'm sure some parents would rather never have to do the child drop-off and pick-up thing. But me, I relish it.


  1. You named your daughter Persephone. If thats a pseudonym, it's still cool. But if it's her real name, that makes you AWESOME.

    I wish my mother had named me after the daughter of Demeter and the wife of Hades...

    My mother hated picking us up and dropping us off places...It's cool that you enjoy that, too.

  2. I figure that pseudonyms wouldn't make much sense at this point, so, yes, that's her real name. Her mother likes to say that she went to hell and back to give birth to her.

    And yes, I am Awesome.

  3. Ten million bonus points to you!

  4. Awesome with a capital "A."

    I like it.

  5. It's a nice feeling knowing that you are the dependable one. Dependable adults are rarer than you would think.

  6. Doug: I took it down a notch from Chanel. Did you notice?

    darev: I agree. I witness stupid parenting all the time as a teacher. Sad, really.

  7. Nothing like a little validation via trust that helps you take confidence in yourself.

  8. Way to be the awesome dad! It always feels good to know that your kids feel like they can really trust you.

    Persephone is such a pretty name! I give that particular choice an A++.

  9. Thanks Michael and Candice. I really don't see my girls enough to feel like I matter much. It's good to matter to your chldren.

  10. Persephone is a beautiful name and a beautiful myth. I'm sure she's an even beautiful-er girl.

    Plus, I've got a soft spot for theatre lovers.


    I really loved this post, btw-- you really chipped away at real sentiment and emotion here without hitting us over the head with it.

    Well-written and lovely.

  11. Thanks Nicki. She's a real keeper. I try not to be cheesy. I appreciate the compliment.