We’re going to visit my step-daughter Stevie at college this weekend, and I’m not thrilled by the prospect.

There are a number of reasons why I’m not thrilled by this prospect.

Firstly, there is the fact that because I spend every other weekend driving to Canada to see my daughters, I resent any plan for a weekend unless it’s something I really want myself. Going to a bed and breakfast to spend some quality time and reconnect with my wife is good. Going to hang around a college campus while Stevie and Vicki go yarn shopping is bad. And I really wish I was home installing my new cooling stuff in my computer, setting the Rochester Flying Club internet kiosk up, testing to see if we can get a 802.11b connection working between the RFC ops center and the flight line.

Secondly, there is the fact that Stevie and I are unfortunately not all that close. I know the reasons, and admit my fault in this. Part of that is that when Stevie was younger, she seemed really really spoiled, and totally ungrateful. Sure, it was motivated at least in part by jealousy because I didn’t have all that stuff when I was her age. But partly it’s because deep down inside I think the best parts of my personality (as well as possibly the worst) came about because I learned to be self-reliant and to take responsibility for myself. I’d like to think that if I had half of the privileges and things that Stevie had when I was growing up, I would have expressed some gratitude once in a while instead of constantly demanding more more more. Vicki just shrugs and says she was the same way when she was young, and she turned out ok.

The interesting thing is that now, Stevie is turning out ok. Her time away at college is has made her more confident and I’m seeing some signs of a self-reliance that wasn’t at all evident when she was home. And she’s got that self-reliance without being a cold and distant person like me. She’s turning into a really nice person, but sadly, I can’t share in that because of the distance I put between us.

So another reason why I’m not looking forward to this weekend is that it only emphasizes my own failures with Stevie, not to mention the emotionless wasteland that was my own childhood.