Kids don’t come with owner’s manuals, but they really should. I know, because as a single father I sure made a lot of mistakes, and I’d give anything to go back in time and undo some of them. But somehow we managed to get through it all, and though we hit some rough patches along the way, we all made it and today I have a very good relationship with both my son and daughter.

But I’m never going to win any Father of the Year award. That has to go to an e-mail friend of mine who contacted me last night to tell me he is selling his beautiful 1957 Chevrolet convertible. I’ve seen pictures of the car, which he and his brother spent over ten years restoring, and it’s incredible. If I had $50K to spend on a classic car and a place to keep it, I’d be all over that deal.

This gentleman is about my age (61) and he is not a rich man. He works for a cable TV company and the car was a longtime dream that took years of work to complete, whenever he had the time and money.

I asked him why he is selling the car, thinking that maybe he wanted to get a new toy and hoping that it wasn’t something like an illness that forced the sale. As it turns out, it is neither. He’s selling it to pay for his daughter’s wedding. I’m sorry. I love my kids, but not that much.

He told me that it’s his daughter’s second marriage, and that she had always dreamed of having a big fancy wedding but didn’t get it the first time around. So he is giving it to her now.

I have to figure that the daughter is somewhere between age 25 and 40, and probably on the upper side, so she’s not exactly a kid. In fact, he mentioned once that she has two children of her own. Call me selfish, but if I had a daughter in that age range (actually I do) who was looking at a second marriage, I would tell her that if she wanted a big fancy wedding that cost that much money, she needed to win the lottery because I wasn’t going to foot the bill! What do you think?

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38 Comments on I Love My Kids, But…

  1. joe jones says:

    Give her a $1000. And tell her to elope.

  2. Adam Vinnick says:

    Not me! Both of my daughters paid most of the cost of their own modest weddings. My son’s ex-fiancé started demanding a big elaborate wedding and the dress she wanted alone was over $5000! Her mom and dad don’t have anything at all and the kids both work part time minimum wage jobs. My wife and I sat her down and explained the facts of life to her and guess what? A week later she broke it off with our son! He was heartbroken and so mad at us he did not talk to us for months. But he has come to realize it was probably the best thing that could happen.

  3. Thomas Byers says:

    I’d love to have a car like that! Always loved the 57 ragtops. As for the daughter, never happen in my family.

  4. Kelly Pritchard says:

    Both of my sisters daughters had big weddings with expensive dresses, bands, and catered meals for over 200 people that their parents spent many years paying off. One daughter was separated in 18 months and divorced within 2 years. The other girl got mad when they would not co-sign for a huge house that she and her husband could never have afforded the payments on and stopped talking to her parents and has ignored them for 5 years.

  5. John Candler says:

    My daughter is 45 – her first marriage ended in divorce

    If she ever decides to get remarried – I would probably contribute $ 1000 – but never anything like that 57 Chevy

    I would think she would never want her father to give that up

  6. Gayle Pietz says:

    You are right on! At this stage of his daughter’s life if she wants a big expensive wedding, let her pay for it. We have 3 daughters of our own, we chose to help them with their weddings. Their weddings were not elaborate or expensive affairs but just as beautiful & meaningful & no one went into debt in the process.

  7. Al Hesselbart says:

    I too raised my 3 offspring as a single dad. When my over 25 year old daughter who had been living with her mate for over 4 years, and had a 4 year old daughter with him, decided she wanted me to pay for her big wedding, I told her I would give her a wedding present same as her brothers and be happy to walk her down the aisle but the party was on them. We still have a great relationship.

  8. Pat Kitchen says:

    Kids!! Sometimes they can drive you crazy! Two of mine are in their 40’s and have decided not to have any of their own. The other one married a girl with 2 of her own and now are on the “outs” with me because after 13 years of birthday cards(and gifts), I had a senior moment and forgot one.
    I’m turning 70 in 2014 and am thinking of giving myself the gift of retiring from the birthday card sending “business”. Pat K

  9. George Stoltz says:

    So far, I am in the minority. Was not a single dad, close relationship with my daughter, provided a BIG check towards her wedding. She is still happily married, two beautiful grandchildren, fantastic son-in-law and a rock-solid home life.

  10. Selene M. says:

    I have 5 children, 4 of them married. One eloped. The other 3 had different styles of weddings. We had a small budget for each. Anything over that amount was up to them. The eloped marriage failed, the other 3 seem to be thriving.

    They also were responsible for their own college costs after we gave them 12 years of private school education. Three have college degrees , one with a masters degree.

  11. Doug says:

    For me, this falls into the category of “It’s his money and he can do whatever he wants to with it”. I don’t know the whole story and I think that would make a difference. Did the daughter marry young to a scoundrel? Is the new guy a really great guy and she has settled down? Does it appear that this is going to be a much better marriage after an earlier mistake? Now that the car is done is it just sitting there collecting dust and he was going to sell it anyway? It is his money and it looks like he is showing his daughter his love and support. Or, is he being coerced to spend the money? We just don’t know all the details. I would support my friend and his decision.

  12. Barry Crocker says:

    Nope, not me.

  13. It’s his money to do with what he chooses, but he’d better set aside half for the third wedding….

  14. I’m with you Nick. Sounds like a very bad move.

  15. D.G. Smeall says:

    With a household of men, all my guys have nothing to complain about in the gift-giving department. However, if I did have a daughter, I would insist on a restricted budget for her wedding as they are getting so expensive and overrated these days.

    My first marriage cost a mere 1000 bucks total. The marriage went bust.

    My second marriage is thriving and cost close to 6000 dollars! It was a modest wedding but everything this girl could ask for.

    After giving most of our household belongings up to family or selling them, I honestly believe our kids appreciate the things that we let them get on their own. Their labors spent, often give them a greater appreciation for the items they buy.

  16. Dave Schwab says:

    Nick
    You are right on. This guy must not be in touch with reality. He is doing her no favors. She needs to grow up.

  17. Dave-Las Vegas says:

    Being a avaiable male I tried one of those dating services to find a girl friend. Wow! what a bunch of gold diggers was discovered on the hunt for their sugar daddy. Sounds to me like his daughter is one of those. BEWARE FOOL!!

  18. Marcy says:

    It was a huge financial sacrifice for us to travel to our son’s wedding (1200 miles away) stay in a motel and foot the bill for the rehearsal dinner (which his bride gave us 2 venues to choose from). They knew each other for 10 years (only married for 5) and are no divorced. Our 2nd daughter and her fiance really managed to have a nice wedding (my husband built the arbor they stood under) without a huge expense, although we spent the same amount of money as for our son.
    Our youngest daughter has already planned that she will be responsible for her wedding.
    We don’t have any money for lavish weddings – and it is NOT the party that is important. It is choosing the right partner, and committing yourself to your partner

  19. Chris says:

    That is one selfish daughter. I pity the second husband.

  20. I can’t imagine a daughter, who knew how much the car meant to her dad, would actually let him sell it to pay for HER wedding. If she has two children of her own she must be working and can pay for a modest wedding. I would rather have the money spent on some of these weddings and have a down payment on a house. Sorry, but I think that is just selfish on her part. One of our friends just spent over $50,000 on his daughters’ wedding. That’s nuts!

  21. Llana Nixon says:

    My husband Rob and I just celebrated our 43rd wedding anniversary last week. Our December 26, 1970 church wedding costs totaled about $100 and that includes altar flowers, a paid organist and minister, and a great little reception offered by friends. My knee-length dress was made by a dear friend who wore a similar one herself. The men wore suits they already had.

    We didn’t know any better; we were happy to throw ourselves a little church party — that is what our wedding seemed like that day. We started our lives together with very little money and very few belongings.

    Ya gotta do what’s right for you. That worked for us. Your mileage may vary.

  22. Janice Williford Evans says:

    oh goodness. . .we’ve set spending limits for years. . .set amount each for Christmas gifts. . .set amount for weddings. . .and NOW a set amount we will spend for a round trip airline ticket if one of the grands want to come spend time with us in the summer. . .

    if they needed or wanted anything beyond that set amount. . .welp. . .you’re on your own. . .asked and answered!

  23. I am glad that our boys did not want big weddings our oldest did borrow money from us towards his big formal wedding that lasted less than two years. he did pay us back. Our youngest and our now daughter-in-law had a small TX wedding at her granddad’s cattle ranch but they had help from her mom. they knew we live on a tight budget and could not help them money wise. our daughter decided not to marry. guess we got lucky.

  24. Roberta Jensen says:

    Nick, I agree. But what sense does it make to sell a $50,000 car for a $3-5,000 wedding – or even a $10,000! Use the car for collateral and take out a loan.

    As a divorce lawyer for over twenty years though, it makes no sense to me to spend so much money on a wedding that will probably end in divorce.

    Here’s a possible solution. He can take out the loan so she’d have the money, but she should pay it back.

  25. Dave W5 says:

    Might think about putting the daughter on C-List and keeping the car!… The Daughter sounds like she is high maintenance anyway.
    In High School I paid 250.00 for my 57 Chevy Belair. If I had only known.

  26. Robert Wang says:

    Does the daughter know her Dad is selling his lifelong obsession for the one day event? If so my concern would be why she is so callous towards her fathers selling his prized hobby and will have her 2nd “wedding” to show for it. Is that what a devoted daughter would do, I think not.

    We established budgets on both of our Son’s weddings and it worked out very well. You learn to live within your means, is that what this Dad is doing?

    The real sad part is I am guessing the odds of a 2nd marriage making it are less than 50/50 and this will be a pretty tough pill to swallow if it is what happens, I would think. Time for tough love from Dad, probably long overdue.

  27. Dave W5 says:

    How about he makes up a contract being its the second marriage. In this contract if the marriage fails then she immediately start making payments with interest back to him on the 50K until it is paid in full.

  28. Kelly Pritchard says:

    Roberta I don’t think we are talking about a $3,000 or even a $10,000 wedding here. Both of my nieces weddings I mentioned earlier were over $35,000. And that was over 5 years ago! Yes you CAN spend $50,000 on a wedding if you are dumb enough to.

  29. Owen Dailey says:

    RIGHT ON! Your not just right your exactly right. Some adult children just don’t know when enough is enough.

  30. Paul Cunningham says:

    That’s a very nice down payment on a house! I would not pay for an elaborate wedding, especially number 2.

    We did our wedding at our home. Had catered food which we brought home and did most of the deco ourselves. Friends helped with just about everything. We kept it to about 70 guests and it cost us around $1,200. We just didn’t want to spend a large amount of money on a one day event. We saved our money and bought a bigger house that we were able to remodel.

  31. Karen says:

    Not even for a first wedding would I spend that much. Not even close to that much. If I was going to give the happy couple anything, it would be a washer and dryer or a refrigerator, something that they can use, and that when the divorce happens,my kid would still have it.

    I knew someone who put a second mortgage on their house to pay cash for a brand new car for their 16 year old. I told her she was crazy to do that, and she said, well, he is such a good boy, and if we pay cash we don’t have to have full coverage insurance, only liability. He had that car 1 week before he totaled it, and guess what? He also had no insurance to replace the car. I would be willing to bet that 20 years later she is still paying for that 2nd mortgage.

  32. Barb says:

    I guess I never understood the big expensive weddings. Over the years, we’ve attended the wedding of several of our kids friends and our friends kids.. Some of them were extravaganzas for sure.

    A few lasted,Some did not.. What a waste for one day.. There are so many things a newly wed couple could do with the money, rather than have a fancy party.

  33. Joan White says:

    No way should he do that. If she wants a big wedding let her pay for it. She just wants to be Queen for a Day. Probably get divorced in a few years–have seen that happen a few times.

  34. Elizabeth says:

    Back in 1972, our wedding cost about $1500 and I made my dress, and most of the attendants dresses too. We did our best to keep it simple, but for a medium sized church wedding that was the best we could do. We gave both older kids $2000 towards their weddings, plus gave each girl $300 towards honeymoon clothes (one our daughter and one the daughter-in-law) and paid the air fare, and lodging for their week long honeymoons. They had to pay the rest. The first one’s marriage lasted less than 5 years. The 2nd one’s marriage is now at 15 years and probably will last…but they have chosen to not have all that much to do with us. Our last one has not married yet at age 30…time will tell is she does. She knows we will not have much to give her if and when it comes…but she is very practical and will not have the big hoop-de-la either. Frankly, though we were not required to pay for the son’s wedding (did the rehearshal dinner myself with help from friends) nor for his wife’s honeymoon clothes…I do not think it was even much appreciated…at this point in time, I would not do so again.

    I have often wished I had not bothered with the church wedding, and just hopped a plane to meet up with hubby in Hawaii where he was stationed and had the chaplain on base marry us and call it good. It was a terrible lot of work and the extra involvement I gave to my mother-in-law (also not required for her to have that much say-so)never paid off either (part of the reason I had the church wedding was for her because she had been a charter member of that church, born and raised in that town, etc). We could have put the money to better use otherwise (and my parents did not care where we had the wedding, or how we used the money either). Live and learn… well, tis true today that we are basically an ungrateful culture of people…and it does not appear to be getting better either.

    I think some of the ways folks had weddings, told in comments above make such good sense. It should be some kind of celebration of those closest to the couple…most of the people who came to our wedding just had nothing better to do on a Friday night, frankly.

  35. Allan says:

    Parents sacrifice for their children. This man may have changed his mind about what was important to him. It is his choice to make. I just hope he does not feel obliged to pay for the wedding out of tradition. My wife and I paid for our own wedding and kept it very modest. We have 3 daughters and we budgeted out a modest amount for each. Our first daughter eloped at 20, our 2nd daughter decided she wanted a big wedding at 40 [she used her head to find ways to cut the cost since she was responsible for paying the difference], our 3rd plans to be married in the spring at 42. They know that if there is ever a 2nd wedding they are on their own. I feel it is not smart to go in debt for a wedding.

  36. Kevin says:

    What’s he going to sell when they want a house – a kidney?

  37. will says:

    When all four of our children got married two daughters and two sons we set a budget. We told them if they went over it they paid the difference. And, NO it wasn’t a lot. Our one daughter husband died and she remarried, they pqid for their wedding.

    Love my children extremely much but no way would I make such a sacrifice. The problem is we don’t want to disappoint our children especially our daughters. But, They need to stand on their own and realize what they are asking one to sacrifice. Do they really want that.

  38. Valerie Mayleben says:

    I’d need more information to offer an opinion. Did the daughter ask or strongly suggest that he help, or did your friend get the generous idea on his own? There’s a huge difference!

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