It’s been an interesting weekend. A weekend that’s taught me a lot about being a dad and raising a teenager.

My kid has started college and a new job in the past 30 days. My wife has also started a new job. This has left us with three very busy people and only two cars in the household. An impossible situation in American culture, where mass transit is non-existent.

My daughter had been saving her money for a car and I told her that whatever she saved up, I would match. So our budget was $3000 and we were prepared to go a bit higher if we needed to. We started looking on Criagslist for used cars and quickly found that for some reason people think their junky leftovers are worth WAY more than they actually are. After looking at a Honda Civic listed for $2500 and realizing I wouldn’t be willing to pay more than $300 for it, we decided to head to the car dealerships to see what they had.

We ended up on an “auto row” downtown by where I work. We checked out 6 dealerships in a row. A few had some attractive cars, but nothing that really fit what we were looking for. A few others had some shady dudes that weren’t even willing to talk, making me think they were probably just fronts for other types of “businesses”. We finally came across this little place with only about 20 cars on the lot and he had several nice options. The first car we looked at there was a Hyundai station wagon with a Kelly Blue Book of four G’s that Deanna fell in love with. I know, I know. What kind of kid falls in love with a station wagon? My kid, that’s who. So we took it for a test drive and it ran strong, had cold air and was clean inside. So I offered the guy $3500 and he wrote up the paperwork and we drove it home.

Deanna was so proud to have her own car, and it was awesome seeing her take pride in her first major purchase. Her first real step to independence. We spent about two hours cleaning every nook and cranny in that car and I thought it was funny that she put such heart into it considering that she treated my cars like crap. Kids! But now she has something that’s all hers, and so I’m happy for her and it’s really great to be able to help your kid take those steps into adulthood.

The second “growth experience” this weekend was not so hot. My daughters “boyfriend” (I use that term loosely), dumped her earlier in the week and I just found out about it. And for some reason he was still texting her constantly. Apparently he was doing the old “I don’t really want you, but I still want your attention” move, which all guys at one time or another think they can get away with. But let me tell you, my daughter will have none of that, and so neither will I. So I had to make a personal phone call to Jr. and explain how things were going to be. Which means, “you will not contact my daughter ever again”.

So it was an interesting weekend. A weekend full of growth experiences which I’m beginning to realize will never end until I am dead and in the grave. It’s all good though, that’s what God created us dads do. We take care of the hard stuff. We protect. We teach. We help our families grow. It’s our lot in life, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.