PARENTING. If you’ve been an active reader of this blog you’d know by now I live with three women and a female bulldog. Trapped? Hardly. We’ve taught the Lu-dog to watch and enjoy the New England Patriots on Sunday afternoons, she’s become accustomed to the ranting and raving when the Bruins score (though that’s been extremely limited) during this round of the Stanley Cup finals and from the sounds emitting from the upstairs bedroom during a Red Sox game to the “let’s go Red Sox” when we’re all sitting in the living room during any SOX game is a thing she has learned to enjoy during her time here in the house.

As parents we have priorities; in this house recently it’s been battling the challenges of breast cancer, which I’m happy, actually delirious to say we’ve handled pretty darn well. Diagnosis in January, surgery in March and the news that chemotherapy would not be required in early May. Done deal. Bonnie is now on oral hormonal therapy … a pill a day for five years. Yea, we can do that and we can do that without the loss of hair, risk of heart disease and leukemia; two risks when chemotherapy enters the picture. Dealing with breast cancer has clearly been our top priority since January, and when you’re talking parenting you realize just because there’s one priority staring you in the face that does not mean it’s all you have to deal with.

Prioritizing things is helpful if you’re management skills are well practiced in that attribute and juggling things; my favorite is always fun but when you juggle a family’s worth of priorities it’s safe to say you’d better not drop one. Juggling, priorities, caring, time management and then your twenty year old walks in to spend summer vacation. Oooy.

Listen, we love having her here but the odd thing is you get an opportunity to see how well you’ve done over the years as if looking in a mirror and there are times when you see things you either don’ t understand, have never seen before or find just shocking and that’s where we are right now with her. I learned this morning she has plans to spend the evening in the big city by the bay with her college roommate after attending a concert at the Billy Graham Civic Auditorium. My fatherly instincts kick into gear and the parental questioning begins. Of course she has all the answers – she’s twenty, remember. I too remember being twenty and thought I had all the answers. So I went online and created her trip route from 4th and C into Berkeley and San Francisco … making hotel arrangements as well as they plan to spend the night. Reservations? Oh, they’ll do that when they get there. Oh my.

Part of me wants to let her use her own resources and management skills in planning her overnight and find out how fast the world really turns when you’ve done nothing to prepare yourself and then the rational dad in me says “hell no” … I’ll take care of this and within twenty minutes with the elements of the binary toolbox I was able to put some confidence inside the parenting partition that says “listen, you’ve done what you can, now it’s up to them.”

They’ve taken the car into Petaluma this morning, the SOX/A’s game is on and the Lu-dog is sniffing the toasted bagel air around her wondering when she’s going to get a little. The garden enjoys the current weather pattern and the fire pit is calling the only male in the house to come out and play. Maybe tonight, if the weather clears.

“IF” – a term used by the generation I’m trying to protect and now I’m using it for my own plans. Some things just never change.