Last Sunday Kid B asked Sheepdog to take her to the park so she could do some goalkeeper training. Kid C tagged along and they worked out together for a couple of hours. There was lots of punting, drop-kicking and goal kicking. I’m sure there were some dive drills as well. Afterwards, Sheepdog and Kid C got back into the car.
“We are stopping at the grocery store for a few things on the way home. You should run back from here,” Sheepdog said to Kid B.
Kid B hates running as much as I do, but she is required to do it for her overall soccer conditioning. Sheepdog convinced her that is was only about three miles to our house, and he explained the route that cut through a safe neighborhood and kept her (mostly) off of the busy main roads. She grumbled at him, but nevertheless she put one foot in front of the other and soon she was running.
I had taken both of the boys to the pool for a bit that morning while they were training. But the weather had taken a turn for the worse, so we were back at the house even before Sheepdog and Kid C returned with their groceries. I inquired about the missing Kid B.
Sheepdog explained the plan for her to run home with a very proud smile. I knew that he had been trying to get her to do this for months now. But I also knew that Kid B didn’t know the route very well and Sheepdog is beyond horrible at giving directions. I was not happy.
“Did she actually want to run home, or did you force her to do it?”
“She knows it is good for her!”
“Did you show her exactly where to go?”
“No, I didn’t show her… but I told her.”
“It has been a while since you left her. You even stopped at the store. Shouldn’t she be home by now? Does she at least have her phone with her in case she gets lost, or it turns out instead to be 10 miles from there to here?”
“Um… (quietly) no. But I’m sure she’s fine.”
“Great, Dumbass. I am going to go give Kid E a bath. Kid B had better be back under this roof, safe and sound, by the time I am done. Go get back in your car and drive around to find her if you have to. Don’t you dare lose one of my babies!”
Sheepdog laughed at me, but I gave him a look so he knew I was not joshing.
A few minutes later, I heard the garage door open and his car was gone.
By the time I finished with bath duty, Kid B and Sheepdog were both standing in the kitchen. Kid B was sweaty and tired, but she was, indeed, just fine. I breathed a sigh of relief, and then I asked exactly what happened. This is what they told me:
Sheepdog’s directions were wrong (well, duh). First, she got lost in the park. Then she got lost in the neighborhood. Eventually, she made it out to the main road and started heading back to our house, but only after she had added a couple of extra miles to her run. By then, Sheepdog had driven out to find her. He had the top down on the car and he saw her running on the sidewalk and made a gesture that conveyed, “What’s up? Where’ve you been? What’s taking you so long?”
At first, Kid B just smiled back at him. But then, overcome by frustration from him making her run home and getting lost in the process, on the side of a very busy road, my fourteen-year-old daughter flipped her Dad the bird, real big and dramatic-like. And then she just kept on running… all the way home.
Coincidentally, I would have done the same, exact thing.
Wish me luck for tomorrow…