Take a Number


That’s the number I pulled from the “Please take a number” dispenser at the auto licensing agency. I took a seat and motioned for Luca to sit next to me while we waited for our number to be called.

I need car tabs. The department of licensing website is a maze of confusion, and I wasn’t clear on exactly what paperwork was required.

So I called the licensing agency first thing this morning and got lost in phone tree hell. Pressing zero to talk to someone hung up on me the first two times. I called back and was told call volumes were too high to remain on hold and to call back later. Lovely service.


This afternoon I finally got through to a woman after waiting on hold for 20 minutes. To say she wasn’t thrilled to to speak to me would be an understatement.  I asked her to list everything I needed to bring with me to the licensing agency. She rattled off the items while I took detailed notes. When I asked if I could read my list back to her I swear I heard her eyes roll.

I organized my paperwork. I was good to go!

Or so I thought as my number was called and I approached the counter to pickup my new tabs. The young women glanced over my paperwork and began shaking her head almost immediately.

“I called ahead to make sure I was prepared. Am I missing something?”

She didn’t answer. Instead she pulled a skinny piece of pink paper from the drawer and began jotting down a list of items and signatures I was missing.

She didn’t say a word, nor did she look at me. I wanted to slam my hand on the counter and say, “Hey, can you acknowledge I’m here or is that too much for you?”

I left without new tabs after spending my morning dealing with people who treated me worse than the skin heads that enjoyed hassling me when I served as a missionary in Germany. At least they would look at me before spitting on my name tag.

Luca sat in the back of the car playing her Nintendo while I drove without saying much. I was frustrated as I pulled into Taco Time. Luca asked if we could go inside. I had no desire to speak to anyone, but thought it would be a good idea to settle down before heading home.

I ordered lunch for us that included cinnamon Crustos which Luca loves, especially when she doesn’t have to share with her siblings. We sat across from each other at the table while we waited for our food.

Of course, when our food arrived they’d given us a beef instead of bean burrito which is the main reason Luca chose Taco Time. I immediately began making a mental list of everything that had gone wrong today. All the calls and waiting in line to be treated like crap. I felt as though I’d wasted my day and should head home and try again tomorrow. Nothing was working.

That’s when Luca said, “I’ll go order me a bean burrito. It’s not a big deal”.

 And she did and returned to her seat across from me where she sat on her knees and leaned towards the table. She told me she loved having her grandparents in town. She asked when we would leave for our vacation to Utah and how long we’d stay. She told me how she’d learned to swim and couldn’t wait to show me. She usually asks me what my worst favorite color is but she didn’t, and it’s a good thing because I never know how to answer that question.

In less than two minutes my day changed.

How many fathers had lunch with their daughter or son today and learned a little more about what makes them tick? If that’s all I was able to do then in no way was today a failure.

I like to say that I see a lot of myself in her, but that’s not entirely true.

Today I saw in my daughter something I’m still trying to gain.

5 thoughts on “Take a Number

    1. Thanks, Mike. You’ve made me think when you’re written about your daughters and the time you spend with them. You must have started early to get to where you are today and the great relationship you have with them.


  1. Sweet little Luca. I’m glad she was able to “no big deal” you back to the happy place. Years before the little book of the same title was published my personal motto was “Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff”. It became my motto when #2 son had long curly hair in high school and neighbors encouraged me to make him cut it. What? Make him cut his hair when he’s an A student and doesn’t have to be prodded to go to church or school? Of course, had I known all the stuff I recently found out about all those years I may have been sweating … but no … even those well kept teenage secrets were “small stuff”. Life is too short to always be upset at people who burst our happy bubbles. Getting on their level is a miserable place to be. I enjoyed your post, Brett.


    1. I’ll have to see some pictures of Brett with long hair when we are in St. George in a couple of weeks.

      I wish it were easy to see the small stuff from the start instead of having to be reset.


  2. I’m obvioiusly quite behind in reading my favorite blogs, but I wanted you to know that this is really good. I’ve been there so many times. We really can learn from our kids how not to sweat the small stuff.


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