This I Believe

Kirstie - Shaftsbury, Vermont
Entered on January 27, 2008
Age Group: Under 18
Themes: family, pleasure

Becoming Close before It’s Too Late

When push came to shove it didn’t matter how many times my parents told me that they were there to talk to because it always felt awkward. I found it strange that people were comfortable talking to their parents about any and everything. It felt like there had to be something wrong with the relationship I had with mine. However, even as a young girl my stubborn and independent values were evident. It wasn’t until after I became closer to my parents that I realized what I had been missing.

At forty-five my dad came to the realization that he should spend more time doing what made him happy in life. This is when he started opening up to the idea of car racing. Much to my mom’s dismay, he began taking one of our street cars, which happened to be an aging 3,000 pound Grand Prix, to the racetrack. At the time, I was immersed in my own little thirteen-year-old world. Do you think I cared about what my dad was interested in? No.

He quickly reached the limits of the Grand Prix and needed to move into something where his progression could continue. Before I knew it we were jumping head first into the world of racing, and what an expensive world it was. Soon we owned an equipped Miata, trailer, fireproof suit, racing license, and the whole shebang. When he began racing I agonized over the cold weather and getting up early, but after time I started to appreciate the lifelong friendships and irreplaceable people.

Over the next couple of years we went to dozens of events ranging from regional to national levels and covering distances from Connecticut to Ohio. In this time there were only a handful of events that I couldn’t attend. As close as I can figure, we spent somewhere around 225 hours driving to and from tracks. All I have to say is you can only listen to so much music, and for the rest of the time I was catching up on some sleep or we were talking.

We may have started out talking about the crashes and eccentric new friends, but eventually it would branch off into life in general. I was shocked by how much I still had to learn about the man I had known since birth. By having this passion for racing in common, it almost forced us to open up and realize the qualities and characteristics we loved about each other.

Now that my dad and I have become closer I can’t imagine what it would be like not to have that time to talk with him, and I’m looking forward to going to events in the following years before college. Having a similar passion of racing gave us the perfect opportunity to become a family. It may sound clichéd, but taking the time to find something in common with your kids or your parents can utterly change the relationships you have formed.