KD Makes the Call

The following from my column “The Dad Navigates Troubled Waters” was originally seen in the September 6, 2018 issue of the East Sacramento News from Valley Community Newspapers

The dad navigates choppy waters: KD makes the call

By Steve DeBenedetti-Emanuel

First, I want to share with you that my next 10 week’s men’s counseling group begins on September 10th, at my Midtown office. It will give men an opportunity to talk about the stuff we often keep to ourselves: relationship challenges, parenting, job stresses, etc., without the pressures of outside influences. If you’re interested, my contact information is below

If you read my last piece, “The Bubble Team Meets Dr. Doom and Gloom,” you know that my 10-year-old boy, KD, had an extremely rough entrance into the world. It was not what we expected, and it almost turned out really badly. That was an extremely difficult period of our lives, and it’s hard to write about. So, I’m going to take a break and get back to the story later.

A couple weeks back we hit the wall. The heat had turned us into a monster family. KD wrapped himself in icepacks and headed to his room. Captain Mommy (my wife Stephanie) and I sat and bickered about stupid stuff for no good reason. It was not looking like a good day. Or a good weekend!

Around 11 a.m., KD skipped into the living room and said with a tentative smile, “Can we go to the City?” Captain Mommy looked at me, and I looked at her. Without a good reason to say “no,” she headed into the garage and raided her secret stash. I locked the bedroom door and did the same. KD chipped in a few bucks. And we hit the road at noon.

Next thing we knew it, we were at the top of Mt. Sutro, where it was a misty and windy and a balmy 59 degrees. A temperature check in Sacramento showed 101. 42 degrees difference. Sure, a picnic would have been nice, but we got cold quickly and headed to the car.

Needing a warm up, we drove frantically to Ritual Coffee, one of my favorite spots in the City, for a steaming latte. Sadly, it closed two minutes before we got there. Fortunately, before the tears rolled down my face we turned around and discovered Weaver’s Coffee, which is really solid. It’s worth a visit…

I looked at my phone, and it was still too hot to go home. So it was time for a burger at Calibur Burgers. We discovered it a couple of weeks ago and knew it was worth another visit. And after a leisurely and delicious burger and garlic fries, it was cool enough to head home.

To summarize: we got out of dodge when it was brutally hot, had a perfect hike, a delicious cup of coffee, and a yummy burger.I had everything I needed for my article on the perfect day trip to San Francisco.However, since I’m a parent, spouse and therapist, I suppose I should have a larger point. And I think I do.

As much as our kids want to make significant decisions, their thoughts, feelings, and suggestions are often devalued or ignored, and parents make the decisions. This makes sense most of the time. If your kid says, “Hey dad, I’m only 15, but since you don’t drive, can I get behind the wheel next time?” or “Dad, can we share a beer next time we’re in the City?” the answers should be a resounding “NO!” However, when we can allow our kids to suggest and make reasonable suggestions, the answer should be a resounding “YES!” In this case, KD threw out an idea, and there wasn’t a good reason to say no. So we shouted, “Yes” and hit the road.

Postscript: Sunday hit, and it was a cool morning. Captain Mommy and I got up and announced that it was time to do the yard work we’d been putting off for the last month. With newfound courage, KD tried to change directions and suggested we go out for brunch. We immediately nixed it and told him to put on his grubby clothes. We got to work…

Until next time…

Steve is a Marriage and Family Therapist, working in Midtown. He can be found at www.rivercitycounseling.comor on Facebook at River City Counseling and on Twitter @rivercitysteve.


One Response to KD Makes the Call
  1. Kate Ryan
    September 12, 2018 | 9:11 am

    Read this aloud to Jake just now…wanted to encourage him with what a miracle you are! He is too, just doesn’t quite know it yet. His reply? ” What a lucky world we are to have Steve in it! He was really lucky. He was really brilliant, still is. His family is lucky too! ”
    In case you might have thought this was a simple column, think again.
    Aunt Kate

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