Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Tumbleweeds in Tooele

(cc) Douglas CooteySetting out to write a book without interruption is tantamount to slapping Life in the face with a steel gauntlet. There are bound to be challenges thrown at me in response—the greatest of which come from family.

I have four wonderful daughters from the ages of seventeen down to eight. My second oldest is fifteen and tasting the world to see what it offers. Whereas she never argued with me before, now we often find ourselves at opposite sides. She wants to experience life strapped to the hood of a Dodge Viper and I keep throwing up road blocks.

Too fast. Too fast. She has already skidded and wiped out a number of times in her race down the road. As usual, I, the harried parent, am the bad guy for insisting she have a license before she drives.

Last Friday was her first opportunity to socialize with friends at a school event since a recent grounding ended. She wanted autonomy and I wanted her chaperoned. Fight. Fight!

The compromise I came upon was to ask her to help me with a photo I needed for a new article I have coming out in ADDitude Magazine. I promised her she could have her name in the mag if she took the shot. I needed a prop and once we acquired it I'd drive her back to the school and wait in the car.

(cc) The ElfDeal made, we headed off to Salt Lake in search of my prop. I needed some tumbleweeds for a showdown with distraction.

During the late summer and early fall, tumbleweeds can be found blowing all over the beach. This deep into Winter, however, meant that the little critters would be scarce. With the sun setting behind an overcast sky, and no tumbleweeds to be found, we made an impulsive decision: We'd head off to Tooele on the other side of the Oquirrh mountains.

(Just in case you need help, that's pronounced Too-ell'uh and Oh'kir)

Once in Tooele, a resident at the local BK assured us we could find tumbleweeds somewhere outside of town along a farm road. Sure enough, caught in the fences and buried in snow drifts we found some great specimens. All the while we chatted and bonded and didn't argue once. We may not have taken the photo that day, but we did have a wonderful time together. Then I drove her to her school event and kept my end of the bargain.

Even though my week was filled with ticking, insomnia, chaos, and drama, I was not concerned that I hadn't finished the revision for "Take a Hike!". There were a lot of goals not met, but what I did accomplish was fabulous. Most importantly, I didn't tic that night. I drove far and wide and enjoyed every moment of time with my daughter. I have single-mindedly focused on goals before to the detriment of my family. I won't be repeating that mistake again.

Relationships with my girls don't always have to feel like showdowns at High Noon. Sometimes, they can feel like chilly January evenings driving around in a minivan filled with tumbleweeds.