First Time Away from Home, On Dads WatchThis weekend, we’re reaching a major family milestone. Our daughter is on a 3-day retreat with a local youth group. That ought to free up a few megabytes per second of bandwidth on our cable modem for a few days. Times certainly have changed haven’t they? In days gone bye, the bathroom was typically the resource of contention. Now we grapple for our fair share of cyberspace. “GO USE THE NEIGHBOR’S BATHROOM!” has morphed into, “GO CHECK YOUR EMAIL ON YOUR iPHONE!” I’m so confused that when our kids are monopolizing the potties, I pee on my iPhone. OK Dad, 7th grade is over.

So, let’s get back to the 13 year old. The milestone is her first extended stay away from Mom and Dad, or Grandparental surveillance. She was quite nervous about the situation. Given that the aforementioned relatives have demonstrated sub-second response times to her every request for the last 164 months, the prospect of not getting similar quality of service from youth group chaperones was a valid concern.

“Welcome to the real world!” was the thought going through my mind when I began the campaign to help her through such an important event in her life. “OK, look. This is semi-automatic Smith & Wesson. It’s not your basic ‘six-shooter,’ and with 14 rounds you ought to be able to clear a path through a crowd of bad-guys and be on your way before the last one hits the pavement.” Is this a family blog? Since I couldn’t obtain a California concealed carry permit for her, I had to rely on the basic “pep talks,” which she consumed voraciously. Even I will admit, “thinking” one’s way out of trouble is a much better alternative than shooting…sometimes. 🙂

After I dropped her off at the bus and subjected the driver to a series of sobriety tests, I kissed and hugged her goodbye. We texted for the next 3 hours as her group transported their way towards the vicinity of Big Bear Lake. I didn’t tell her I was following her progress on Google maps with the “find my iPhone” app. That was a modern day feature that helped to keep me sane while my baby was beyond my reach.

So by the time of this posting, she’ll be nearly done with her big adventure. If she doesn’t return home pregnant and with a pack of Marlboros in her sleeve, we’ll embrace her with love and pride. I’m not expecting otherwise. See ya next time!

Authored by: Michael Malgeri

Michael lives in Redondo Beach with his wonderful wife and their beautiful children, the stars of "On Dad's Watch." He makes a living in the software industry and pursues writing in between fun family events. Along with "On Dad's Watch," Michael believes there's a need to teach young people about the morality and practicality of Capitalism as well as provide them with an alternative perspective on environmental issues. His books on these topics can be found at

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