I am lucky enough to have two parents who love and support me, and who have both taught me so much. Though divorced, both my parents tried to raise my sister and me to be hardworking, driven, well-rounded human beings, but were still what I’d consider to be “cool parents.” They both gave us a lot of leeway to make our own decisions and be independent. But I’ll be honest — there were certain things dad let me get away with quite a bit, more so than mom, and I'm pretty grateful.
I’m not talking about drinking or drugs or boyfriends. I was a shy teenager who preferred to be at home on my computer or reading Harry Potter than being out with friends (or actually having friends), so I was never a problem child for my parents. In fact, I was the opposite of a problem child. I might have even been a little bit boring, but my dad never held it against me.
My dad and I have always had a good relationship — though we have vastly different personalities, we both liked playing and watching sports, and working with our hands. Looking back, I think my dad might have let me get away with the things that I did because he wanted me to at least break a few rules before growing up — and for that, I'm grateful. If your dad is anything like mine, you can probably relate.
1. Eating cake for breakfast
Yup, my dad let me eat cake for breakfast. Every year, either my sister or I would bake a cake for each other’s summer birthdays or for Father’s Day. But since I was really the only one who enjoyed eating cake, it was up to me to finish it. (I know, you feel so bad for me.) So during the summer, I would have cake for breakfast almost every day until the entire pan was clean. My dad knew where the cake was going (into my teenage face), and just let it happen.
I'm not sure if it was intentional, but my dad never made any comments to me about what I ate. He tried to feed me healthy, nutritious meals, but if there was something I enjoyed eating, he wasn't going to stop me.
2. Pulling the phone across the house and into my room to talk
Remember the days before cell phones existed, when we all had to use house phones to gab with our friends and crushes? My dad had one of those phones with the 10-foot cable and 10-foot spiral cord, so I stretched that bad boy all the way from the living room into my bedroom. It was definitely a tripping hazard and an eye sore, and I definitely talked on it way too long.
But good ol’ dad only yelled if he needed to use it, or if he nearly broke his neck. I had so few friends growing up, by my own choice, that I think he was happy to let me cultivate the relationships that I did have without feeling cut off.
3. Staying on my computer all day long
After talking on the phone lost its fun, I would spend all day on my computer during weekends and breaks from school. I’d spend literally all day AIMing, writing, playing a game, spending my allowance on eBay, and more. Even after my dad came home from work, he would only make me stop in order to eat and go to sleep.
He knew I wasn't doing anything wrong, and I spent the majority of my time writing and reading, which would ultimately set me on the path to being a professional writer. Plus, if I was home on my computer all day, my dad knew right where I was and what I was doing while he was working. It kept me safe, and was doing more good than harm.
4. Driving (kind of) illegally
I grew up in a private, gated community by a lake, so I spent a lot of time on boats, Sea-Doos, and jet skis. For reference, in California, you have to be 16 to drive a boat, and at least 12 with a licensed driver over 18 with you to drive a Sea-Doo. I may or may not have been a little younger when my dad let me take the wheel. Not to mention, he let me drive his truck around our community (which is technically a private road) starting when I was 14.
This might seem dangerous to most people, and maybe it was, but I had a good teacher. My dad was a professional truck driver for 15 years, so I don't want you to think he was putting me in danger by teaching me to drive. And by the time I got my actual license, I was a confident driver and a more confident person in general, because I had a dad who trusted me.
5. Wearing costumes out in public
When I was a little girl, both of my parents were totally cool with taking me to the grocery store or Chuck-E-Cheese or a party dressed like a genie or Sporty Spice. I’m sure I’m not the only one who did this. And it’s cute when you’re a kid, but I didn’t exactly stop doing it.
As an amateur cosplayer, I go out in public in costume a lot — and my dad is proud of me for doing so! He might not understand what my costumes are from, or totally get the geek community I'm a part of, but he's always encouraged me to follow my passions no matter what.