The car my wife drives broke down earlier this week and as a result I’ve been driving our daughter to and from kindergarten with my truck. Not having both cars working is a hassle, but the time with our daughter has been a real blessing. I took over the kid commute for a few weeks several months back when my wife broke a toe and couldn’t drive, but that time I used our car. This time around my wife commented on how excited our daughter is to have me drive her to school. My wife is kind enough to get up first and get our daughter ready for school so I can sleep in a bit. Normally she has a small battle on her hands getting her ready, but now our daughter is so eager to ride to school she gets up by herself at 6:00 AM and starts getting herself ready even though we don’t leave for school until 7:45.
I know how she feels. My father always drove a pickup truck, and there was something very special about that combination. Sometimes he would come home while it was still light out and take all of the kids in the neighborhood for a ride. We’d all pile into the back of the truck and he’d start driving up a nearby hill. It was always the same trick, but each time he would get halfway up the hill he would pretend the truck didn’t have enough power. He’d slow down and even let the truck start to roll backwards a bit. Then he would stop the truck and rev the engine and feather the clutch to get the truck moving again. He and his mechanic had replaced the original 6 cylinder engine with a V8 out of an old mustang. Between the V8 and the glass packs it made a beautiful sound. I don’t know why but it was exciting every time.
I was thinking about this a few months back when I took our daughter over to Bass Pro for some father/daughter time. After we parked I had her stay in the truck until I came around and opened her door. As she started to climb out I leaned forward to be ready to catch her in case she lost her footing. In a split second she had a glint in her eye and then launched herself straight at me. Luckily I caught her, but I’m not sure it was needed because she held on with her arms and legs so tight I don’t think she could have fallen. I started to scold her a little for not letting me know what she was going to do. I told her she could have fallen; she replied:
I know, but I knew you would catch me.
Sometimes it is a strange feeling to be the dad, and yet at the same time it feels so natural. I know exactly how she feels, because I would have had perfect faith that my dad would catch me in that same situation. The time will come soon enough for her to learn that I’m just a man, with all of the usual limitations. For now we both can enjoy me playing the role. When I pick her up from school I park the truck on the street and walk over to where she waits with her class and teacher. I make it a point to pick her up when she runs up to me, and I carry her a little way before I let her down; she absolutely beams. At home when she comes into my home office I sometimes have her give me a hug from the side while I’m in my chair at the computer. Then I pretend I forgot I was holding her and get up and tote her around the house as if she wasn’t dangling off of my side. I walk down the stairs and around the house, complaining of having gained a little weight. Then when she giggles I quickly turn so her legs windmill around, only to find the little girl giggling isn’t there. Just like my dad’s trick, it never gets old.
If you get the chance to become a dad I highly recommend it. We talk a lot about marriage and divorce here and elsewhere in the manosphere, but we don’t always talk about why it matters so much. The truck may be optional, but the father isn’t.