The Practical One

My daughter is the most practical of my three kids. When presented with new information, she approaches it with reason and logic in a way that is admirable for any elementary aged kid. At her best, she is calm and collected and almost diabolical in the best way possible.

This trait will serve her well as she grows up and faces teenaged drama. But for now, she delivers eight year old wisdom with pluck and grace. It has its downside though. She has the tendency to apply her sense of practicality to my daydreams.

Perhaps I should explain.

We were out running errands and stopped at a traffic light. While waiting, a Porche Carrera slipped by in the lane next to us and joined us in the line for a green light. It was a couple years old and had a freshly detailed shine.

I whistled, perhaps even purred. "That is a beautiful Porche," I said.

"What's a Porche?" JJ asked.

I gave the simplest answer that I could think of. It is a vehicular work of art. They're expensive, fast, and stylish.

Then Zu came in with her logic. "Is there a back seat in a Porche?"

"Well, no." I answered.

"Ugh." Zu expressed instant judgement. "Then you can't have one, Daddy."

Her practical mind recognized that she and her brothers would not be able to ride with me if my budget magically allowed me to own a Porche.

image courtesy of Top Car Rating

Zu repeated this practicality a little later. We were on our way home from church and passed a new Mazda MX-5 convertible. Once again, I made a remark about the attractive car and Zu instantly noticed the problem. "No, Dad, there isn't a back seat. You can't have one."

That Mazda reminded me of an item on my bucket list. Someday, when the kids are grown and on their own, I want to rent a sporty little convertible like that Mazda and drive the entire length of the 101 from the Olympic Peninsula, down the Pacific coast through Washington, Oregon, and California to Los Angeles. If I'm married, it is the kind of trip I would want to take with my wife. We would stop anywhere along the road that looks interesting and enjoy the sights and flavors of the quintessential left coast experience.

I am always looking for opportunities to inspire my kids and encourage them to dream big. So I took the opportunity to share my dream with them. I explained it in a brief summary, taking care to explain this is something that wouldn't happen until they were all adults.

Zu was not supportive. Her first concern is that she wouldn't get to go with me. I stressed again that this is something that I would not do while they still lived at home. I would wait until they were grownups and had their own families and careers. I told her that I believe it is important for us to set goals and dreams - even if it is something that isn't going to happen for another 20 or 30 years.

That helped her feel better, however she was still not convinced. "But dad," she objected, "what if JJ still lives at home?"

"Oh, Zu. I would wait until all of you have your own life."

"But what if JJ doesn't?"

She was serious. My daughter was legitimately concerned that her younger brother will never move out. With that assumption, Zu's practical mind could not accept the idea of daddy leaving little bro behind.

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