I hated when TV networks did it.
They’d roll the credits near the end of the NFL broadcast, to give thanks to everyone on the crew and declaring that “any rebroadcast of this telecast without the express written consent of the NFL is strictly prohibited.” Go stuff it, Dick Enberg. Kiss it, Bob Trumpy.
It ain’t over, for my team, at least I hoped. Because at that point, they were usually behind.
Even down two touchdowns with 42 seconds left, it ain’t over. There’s still ball to be played. It’s like that with parenting, too. Even when your kid is 17 – especially when your kid is 17 – there’s still much parenting to do.
The scope widens, but here, with 42 seconds left, there’s much ball to be played.
I know this stage – Elise will turn 18 in November. Eighteen! She could vote and smoke. I hope my influence will make for easier decisions when it comes to both. I see a young woman closer to college than kindergarten, by far, but know she still needs guidance.
Sometimes, it’s not what a teenager wants to hear from us, but it’s still our duty to say it.
It’s that subtle yet persistent nudge toward study and away from Instagram.
It’s a strong message in a kind voice. It’s an ear for a story – if it’s important to her, it’s important to me. How will she come to me with bigger challenges if I didn’t take these seriously? It’s a mind to mine or pick whenever she asks. (And the restraint to fist-pump out loud when she does).
It’s speaking from the standpoint of my own failures and misconceptions, yet understanding some lessons must be learned on her own. On her schedule. At her pace. At her school.
It’s the sense she hasn’t asked for a learner’s permit because she’s uncomfortable behind the wheel. Just toss her the keys in a parking lot and give instruction and suggestion in my golf-commentator-meets-late-night-jazz-disc-jockey voice. (Soothing but not annoying? I can hope.)
It’s food choice and time management tips from the guy with tortilla chip crumbs on his shirt and Diet Coke breath as he’s writing this. And is behind his self-imposed deadline in the process.
It’s keeping pace with her life trajectory, parallel to mine by 17 degrees higher. It’s the canvas to foster big dreams and simultaneously advocate for the beauty of a semi-charmed life. It might be found in any of those college welcome kits on her floor.
Or it might not.
Other times, it’s just as it ought to be – a child becoming and adult, the lessons and love they’ve had along the way helping to direct their route.
They steer more every day, but we parents remain close, if we’re lucky. It’s nights spend in her room when she asks me to help her study – then does it on her own. “You can do your writing in here if you want, daddy.” Yes, I want. When you talk, I’ll look up.
Because this isn’t over, is it? You might even call these years crunch time.
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