My daughter, Alison, doesn’t trust me. I really wish this wasn’t the case, but it’s the truth. If she ever found herself in an emergency, here are six people she’d think to call before me.
1. Her mother
Paula is the favorite parent, no doubt about that. Most dads I talk to say that their wives are closer with their daughters than they are, so maybe it’s normal. I guess it’s because of shared experiences and whatnot. It also goes without saying that I have full confidence in Paula to guide Alison through an emergency. Still, you kind of wish you were the one she’d call, you know?
2. Her boyfriend
With all those hormones flying around, it makes sense that Alison would opt for her boyfriend over me. Besides, Jacob’s a good kid, and I know he treats her well. I’m just not so sure how he’d fare in an emergency situation. That’s not necessarily his fault; there are some things a 17-year-old isn’t ready for. I know I wasn’t prepared for certain things at that age, compared to the way I know I am now. What I’m trying to say is, you mature as you age, and I know I’m more prepared than he is.
3. Her best friend
Jenna and Alison have been best friends for almost a decade now, and the two of them are very close. She’s nice and all, sure, but I don’t know how well she’d do under pressure. I can’t think of a time I lost my cool in front of my daughter, except maybe when we were installing the living room TV. Also, her best friend failed her driver’s test the first time, so what does that say about her? But maybe in a crisis my daughter just wants to talk to someone she feels close with. Why don’t we have that type of relationship? I’m just not sure.
I can’t fault her for this one. It’s a good idea to call 911 in an emergency.
5. Her grandmother (my mother)
This one hurts. I love my mother to death, but I’m not sure how useful she would be in an emergency situation. She’s 84, has terrible osteoporosis, and most likely all she could do is dial 911. Which is fine, obviously, because it ultimately gets the job done—but, I mean, I could do that too. I’m perfectly capable of dialing three numbers, two of which are the same number. Why would she prefer her grandmother to me for this simple task?
6. Our next-door neighbors
Don’t get me wrong, the Altons are fantastic people. Frank, Elizabeth, the twins—hell, even the dog is fantastic. But…well, I guess I just don’t understand. It’s not even that she dislikes me. It feels more like I’m just someone to be tolerated until she moves out. On the surface, everything seems okay, but we don’t really communicate. I’m terrified that when she goes off to college that could be it for us. I know I’m hard on her sometimes about school. I realize that. But I think she can be something special if she continues to apply herself—not that she’s not already something special, obviously. I mean something special the whole world can see, not just me. I want nothing more than for the whole world to know how incredible my daughter is. I hope she knows I think that about her. I don’t tell her that enough, for whatever reason. Could she think that I’d be disappointed if she found herself in an emergency situation? God, I hope not. I want to be there for her so bad. She’s growing into such a brilliant young woman, and it breaks my heart that there’s distance between us. We’re on different wavelengths right now, I suppose. Maybe we’ll figure out how to have a closer relationship before she heads off to school. Until then, I guess she’ll call the Altons if something ever goes wrong.