At the stroke of sixteen, like the clock striking midnight in an Agatha Christie thriller, something more portentous than anything that went before happened to our children. Each kid got a drivers license.
Jack's driving service fell into the forgotten past like last week's newspapers. And so too did all the furtive logistics that swarmed over our days and evenings like so many ants over an anthill. It was only then our real problems began, as adolescent feet mutated into the flight of wheels. And fly they did.
Stuart and I had our share of arguments about our oldest child. He was shocked and disgusted and told her so, seeing her in high heels, black stockings, a body-hugging black jersey and mini-skirt that halted midway between knees and thigh.
"Dad, mini is the style and so are body suits, for cripes sake, and black is in!"
But I suspected all he saw were large breasts, nipped in waist, spike heels, black all over and a crown of thick black hair. In short, he saw a prostitute when what he wanted was his adorable little girl. Cara seemed not as shaken by these put-downs as she might have been. I thought I understood the awesome threat that underlay his aversion to her appearance. He had been a man first before a father and sexual connections take a lot of space in a man's baggage no matter how guys move from one passage to another. Yet how needy a daughter is for her father’s approval—that first male in her life—to assure her that she is feminine and desirable. The very attributes the father dares not see.