My dad was not the type to raise a “Daddy’s Girl.” And even if he had been, I just don’t think my natural tendencies are configured in such a way that I could ever really be a Daddy’s Girl. I love my dad, and he knew my high school boyfriends, and made up for the no-allowance rule by funding my school clothes and movies… but we mostly stayed out of each other’s ways, a part of—but never infringing on—daily life and big decisions.
However, as I think you’ll likely find with any professed non-Daddy’s Girl, there is a small collection of behaviors and rituals that started, prospered, and ultimately ended with my daddy. In these two or three things, I was totally dependent on him… at least until recently.
Car maintenance, for example. Oil changes, bulb replacements, license tabs… These are all things my dad just took care of. I didn’t pump a single tank of gas for the first three years of car ownership. Granted, I think it’s mostly because he liked to drive my car, even if only to gas station, but still… there are just certain things that, for a long time, were never even on my radar. They appeared and were dealt with in an instant.
When I finally got my first post-academic apartment and moved out of my parent’s house (no shame in a couple years after college, right?), Dad handed me my car insurance bill. “You can take care of this now, I think.” Insurance? I had that? And my parents were paying for it? When did that happen? I had honestly never even considered its existence before that point.
See what I mean? A blip, dealt with.
Same thing with taxes. One March, my dad handed me a stack of forms and a big manila envelope with “Emilie, Taxes 2003–2005” scrawled in his big capital-letter slant. Oh yeah. Those.
He sat on the couch and walked me through the steps to file my first time. For the next couple of years, I was on my own. I’d be home for a visit or dinner, Dad would hand me the stack of forms and say, “Picked up your 1040. Don’t forget to file this month.”
Then I’d take the forms home—in duplicate or triplicate, of course, because he’s all about the draft contingency plan—hop online, and take care of it myself, just like any big girl out of the nest.
And so far, it’s worked out just fine.
Ok, so there was a period of 6 months or so when I was driving around uninsured. Not being used to paying insurance bills, I never realized that they weren’t showing up in my mail. But I fixed it, with a bit of a reinstatement fine. And then there was the $650 set of all-new hoses for my car, since I never realized that it needed its oil changed. For a year.
But other than that, no problem!
I now drive a new car I bought myself, and even before the husband asks (cause he will) I know my maintenance schedule. My tabs are up-to-date each year, and I am a fully insured, responsible driver, just like every other recovering partial-Daddy’s girl.
And when tax time came around this year, I was all set. My own manila folder was marked “Emilie, Taxes 2008,” I had all my deductions together, and I only had to call home once with one little question.
“Hey, Daddy! Where do I get the tax forms?”