On a sunny, 55-degree day this past week, I took a fabulously long walk and got back to my neighborhood about 3:30 pm. As I crossed from the main road on to my street, I could see the face of a teenage neighbor in front of her house behind a car, but I could only see the back of the guy she was talking to.
She looked bigger than I remembered and pretty grown up, compared to the last time I had seen her. She was smiling so much. It made me think about the magic of young love.
As I inched a bit closer but was still a distance away, I saw she was standing on a skateboard, which explained her being taller than I’d have expected. She didn’t take her eyes off the guy, who appeared to be instructing her on skateboarding techniques.
Right away I started to project my own worries on to her parents. The mother in me started to empathize with her poor parents for having to deal with this new hobby of hers. I started to sweat just thinking about all the safety matters that come into play.
Add to that a persuasive boyfriend encouraging it, and the situation is ripe for battles at home, with her parents concerned that she may want to do all kinds of crazy stunts on her skateboard, hang out with other daredevils (or, worse yet, with her skateboard buddy alone) and so on.
I walked to the other side of the street as I approached them since I wasn’t wearing a mask but wanted to say “hi!” to the teen and of course to check out her boyfriend.
Let me just say … WOA!!!
That “boyfriend” teaching her how to skateboard was…HER DAD!
I was s h o c k e d!!! I had seen him eons of times but usually with a briefcase in hand. I’d never have guessed that he’s a skateboarder and/or that he’d be encouraging her to learn.
But once I thought it through – that he is sharing with his daughter a hobby he enjoyed – I began to feel differently.
I think fathers and daughters often struggle to find common ground, and a mutual appreciation for a hobby can add a wonderful new dimension to their relationship.
By the time I got home – 12 houses down – my thoughts went from “those poor parents” to “that lucky dad…and daughter.”