When we walked into a college tour session in the middle of Boston last fall and spotted a father and daughter from home sitting right near the door, my first thought was “Oh, wow! People we …
When we walked into a college tour session in the middle of Boston last fall and spotted a father and daughter from home sitting right near the door, my first thought was “Oh, wow! People we know! What a small world.”
It wasn’t until this past week that it occurred to me that my brain didn’t go much further than that. At no point did it occur to me to question why a father would have taken his daughter on her college tour or why the girl’s mom wasn’t in attendance.
It was simply nice to run into some nice people five hours from home, nice to see my daughter and this other girl who I’ve watched grow up excitedly enjoy a morning exploring a place that could one day be their home (or not).
This week because it was my daughter’s turn to hit the road for college tours with her father, a fact that weighed on me as a mother who wasn’t able to make the trip.
It wasn’t that I didn’t care or didn’t want to attend — other obligations simply got in the way. Almost up to the moment they got home, brimming with stories about their days on the road and the various adventures they’d had, I remained in turns and sad and racked with guilt.
How could I miss this important milestone? What kind of mom does that?
Society lays plenty of guilt on parents’ shoulders, especially mothers. When a child gets in trouble, people are quick to blame today’s parents — too permissive, too inattentive, too busy working, too this, too that.
We parent differently than past generations, as past generations did from generations before them. We lead different lives too, face different challenges.
But as I tortured myself over the moments I was missing this past week, the story of our encounter in Boston came flooding back to me and along with it a reminder that for all the challenges of modern parenting we have advantages too.
Dads are today — more so than in any other generation — present, active and equal in parenting roles. Dads drive the carpool and bake the birthday cupcakes. Dads help buy the prom dresses and plan the pizza parties.
And yes, sometimes dads take their daughters on their college tours because these milestones are important, and they’re the right parent for the job at the time.
I’m the kind of mom who’s just grateful to have that kind of dad as a partner.
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