David Trinko: Dad’s just along for the ride

It’s not where you take your children that matters. It’s where they take you.

Last weekend, the Trinko Uber Co. drove around the block multiple times, waiting patiently for a musical performance to let out. That departure time was nearly an hour later than expected, as the two teenagers got an unexpected chance to meet the musician before they left.

The following day, the driver took one of those teens to a summer camp in the middle of nowhere. I carried some of her items into her cabin and got a quick brush-off, as some of her friends were already there.

A few days later, I took the other teenage girl to meet someone to play a round of golf in a nearby town. Her eye roll at something I said led me to depart quickly after meeting her companion.

During the wait for pickup, I wandered through a children’s museum, spending an inordinate amount of time sitting at a fake bank’s desk, making our 9-year-old giggle uncontrollably whenever I said, “I don’t want some of the money; I want all of the money.”

It’s even there with our 21-year-old, now that she’s moved out of the house. She called in the middle of the night upset about something the other night and wanted to sleep at our house that night. I sat up and talked with her a few minutes when she arrived.

These are the voyages of a dad of girls. While yes, I was in the driver’s seat for these trips, I was very much a passenger, getting to see things through their eyes as we went.

With Father’s Day this weekend, it’s natural for children to ask their fathers where they want to go, perhaps for a short trip or a meal out. For me, it’s just getting to be in the same car again that matters.

I don’t really have that many hobbies. Mostly I spend my time working and being a dad. Sometimes being a dad means driving them somewhere. Sometimes it means coaching them in softball or basketball. Sometimes it means sitting and watching TV with them for a few minutes, going for a walk or going fishing.

I will never claim being a dad is as difficult as being a mom. It’s just different. There’s more bug-squashing and sitting in silence when they don’t want to talk about what went wrong, even if you’d like to squash whatever bug bothered your bundle of joy. It’s carrying things and making dad jokes, those awkward puns you share mainly because all the jokes you learned in your 20s are clearly inappropriate for them until they’re in their 20s.

It’s the one job I’ll never tire of having, no matter the obstacles or struggles along the way. Its rewards are intrinsic, when you hear your child humming a song you like or they use a turn of phrase you know you said first.

It’s the regret when you feel when you see your inner demons come through them as well, such as unnecessary swearing or debilitating self-doubt.

Mostly, it’s joy, that somehow you got to be a part of these children’s lives. Deep down inside, you know there’s a special feeling they get when they think about their dad. For someone who’s not outwardly emotional, it means a lot to me, and it’s reciprocated.

Like I said, it’s not where you take your children that matters. It’s where they take you.


See past columns by David Trinko at LimaOhio.com/tag/trinko.

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David Trinko is editor of The Lima News. Reach him at 567-242-0467, by email at [email protected] or on Twitter @Lima_Trinko.