When I was younger, I couldn’t understand why my father would worry so much about my siblings and me.
If it was snowing and I was working late at the grocery store, for example, he would want me to go straight home after work. He wouldn’t want to worry about me driving to get something to eat or spending time with friends.
It seemed ridiculous to me at the time.
“What is he worried about? I’ve only gotten stuck in the ditch twice due to snow!” I thought to myself. “He just loves watching the weather reports and worrying about the snow.”
I should add that the two times I got stuck in the ditch were not my fault at all, and were only caused by stupidity.
The first time, I was driving home from my friend Dan’s house. I grew up in rural Northwest Ohio, and Dan lived several miles from my house. When I was leaving his house that night, my car spun completely around on the ice. It was a little scary, but wasn’t too bad so I went back to his driveway, turned around then tried driving home at the exact same speed. Why would I need to slow down?
When I was about a mile away from Dan’s house, the car slid again and this time ended up stuck in a ditch. Cell phone were not around yet, so the only thing I could do was wait at my car until someone came along or someone invented the cell phone.
Fortunately, someone drove by after a while and then helped me get out of the ditch. That man’s name was Steve Jobs! No, I’m just kidding about that, but it would have made for a great story.
The second time was when I was leaving the high school after a big basketball game that I provided water and towels for (I was the star manager). I was planning to attend some sort of postgame gathering, probably so that I could gather water for the main guests.
Anyway, I cleaned off the windshield before I left, but I was in a hurry so I only cleaned it until it was “fine.”
While I was driving down the road, of course, my windshield fogged up so that I couldn’t see. I wiped it off with one hand and opened the window at the same time, and when I finally could see again I noticed that I was heading off of the road and straight into the ditch.
So, I waited again that night until some friends came along and helped me out of the ditch and then I went to the event where I most likely walked around awkwardly and didn’t say much.
Despite those two times in the ditch, I have always been a fairly confident driver in the snow. I have slid several times and have been lucky to avoid accidents, but I don’t mind the snow when I drive.
If any of the children are driving, though, I am constantly worried about them being out in the snow, just like my dad was. I have been in more ditches and more accidents than any of them, but I am a lot more concerned about their driving than my own.
I also now love watching the weather on the news and I am constantly checking the weather forecasts on my phone and computer.
And if the weather is nice, I still worry about kids being out, even if they are just walking home from somewhere. It’s annoying to worry and feel like I should stay awake until they get home, but it’s even more annoying knowing that it is exactly what my dad used to do.
Any time my siblings or I quietly slipped into the house and headed toward our rooms after being out late, we could always count on hearing “Good night” from my dad, no matter how late it was. He either had been awake the whole night or had an uncanny ability to wake up whenever the front door opened.
I couldn’t understand it then, but I certainly do now and I appreciate the way he would worry and watch out for us.
And someday, I am sure the kids will think the same thing about me and my wife and the way that we sometimes worry about them. They may not understand it today, but that’s ok. I don’t mind if they think I worry all of the time, I had pretty good role model for that.