After a recent conversation with my wife I realized I just don’t spend enough quality time with our daughters. So, like it or not, I informed our youngest daughter I would be spending a long weekend with her in Knoxville where she currently attends the University of Tennessee.
Of course the real purpose of my visit was to check on her well-being, put food in her belly and attend the last scheduled home UT football game, where tailgating is considered a high art form.
A week before my trip I received the following text message: “Dad, I won the election!”
The election she referred to was for the presidency of her sorority, Kappa Delta, a leadership role she’s eyed since her freshman year of college.
“Thank God!” I announced to my wife. “No telling how much pain and suffering was averted with this development.”
I could really enjoy my visit with a very excited president-elect that is until it suddenly occurred to me.
“How much?” My text message reply read. These were the only two words I could muster. My heart rate tripled just wondering how much this elective office was going to cost me.
“How much what?” She responded.
“How much is this going to cost me?” I replied as my breathing started to return to near normal.
Sororities cost money and this one was no different. I tried to weigh the positives against the negatives. Yes, there were annual dues along with the occasional fundraising letters we receive, pitching us magazine subscriptions or something else we don’t need.
On the other hand there were standards to keep. She would be required to maintain a minimum 3.0 grade point average to stay in office. This was much cheaper than the cash incentive I promised her if she qualified for the state’s lottery tuition grant. And she must now become a permanent role model both on and off campus.
A Kappa Delta formal was scheduled during my weekend visit. Her boyfriend was escorting her so I decided to spring for dinner for the three of us. It’s the least I could do. Besides, her mother’s instructions were clear — feed her well during my visit.
“Dad, would it be OK if we include the outgoing president and her date for dinner?” She asked. Her date just happened to be a fraternity brother of my daughter’s boyfriend.
“Sure honey,” I replied while feverishly calculating the anticipated cost of five dinners in my head. “He doesn’t play football does he?”
One day earlier we enjoyed some father-daughter shopping time and a visit to Sun Tan City for a spray tan. Little did I realize the importance of a fresh tan when attending sorority functions.
“How much is this going to cost?” I asked.
“Not sure” was the reply. “I stopped using regular tanning beds because of the health risks associated with them. This is my first visit.”
“Wow!” I thought. A college education is really making a positive impact on my daughter’s life. Or was she toying with dear old dad?
Her negotiating skills were spot on as she convinced the young girl behind the counter to offer her a discount.
I gladly paid for the tan. Besides, if I didn’t her mother would have added the extra money to her debit card, so my daughter reminded me.
Next year her living arrangements will change considerably. She’ll move out of the apartment she currently shares with four other students and into a new sorority complex on campus.
Before I could ask how much this move was going to cost she informed me the additional expense was comparable to what she pays now. The new Kappa Delta president was certainly impressing dad.
I’m curious to see how well daughter No. 2 manages 150-plus college divas next year. If the way she handles dad is any indication, she’ll do just fine.
In any event, the cost of seeing your daughter accomplish something she strives for in life is nothing less than … priceless.
Richard Esposito is publisher of Village Life. Contact him at [email protected]