By Cathy Moen
My daughter, Skylar, recently celebrated her 31st birthday and I may have to start introducing her as my younger sister because no one is going to believe I had a child at nine years old.
Skylar was born a town girl and although she was only eleven when we moved to the ranch, she’d fully embraced town living by then filled with sports, dance, music and an active social life. Her biggest concerns upon news of the move were switching schools and trick or treating.
Being an October baby, Halloween was an important holiday. Fortunately, she was able to use her father’s address to stay in the same school and even better, “Daddy” acquired trick or treat duty for the rest of her childhood. I felt it was a fair trade for all he’d put me through during our marriage.
The move to the ranch meant a 60-mile daily commute and it was hard on both of us. We’d get up before dawn to get to work and school on time and we had to leave the ranch even earlier on the mornings she had swim practice. I also spent many evenings in town waiting for her to get out of dance class or piano lessons or soccer practice or whatever else was on the itinerary.
To kill time, I had the choice of shopping or hanging out in a bar. I chose shopping because it wasn’t as expensive as a liver transplant. We’d get home some nights just in time to go to bed and it was getting more and more difficult to handle the meltdowns—mine, not Skylar’s. She had to ride the school bus to town one fall when I worked from home.
I drove her to the bus stop in my jammies most mornings and there were days we didn’t make it at all because of road closures. A national study reported that our commute was on one of the most dangerous highways in America, so seeing that her bus driver didn’t appear old enough to shave yet was a bit concerning for this mom.
By the time Skylar was 14, I was pretty much over being her full-time chauffeur. Her father didn’t have a car, so it was all on me to get her places. Skylar finally suggested that maybe she should live in town with her father during the week.
I reluctantly agreed and figured her father could use some adult supervision anyway, but it still didn’t solve the in-town transportation problem. One day I saw an ad for a push, pull, or drag sale. The dealership was offering $2,000 for any trade, any age, any condition, but I didn’t know if that deal would apply to my trade-in.
Skylar’s stepdad, Mark, had an old ranch truck sitting in the pasture where it last broke down. It had body damage, the clutch didn’t work, and it could only be driven in reverse with a pair of pliers. I showed the salesman a photo of the truck and he said he’d up the offer to $3,000 if we kept it.
Problem solved! Skylar and Daddy had transportation, I was relieved of chauffeur duties, and Mark didn’t have to push, pull, and drag that pile of rust to town.