Growing up with parents as truck drivers can be stressful and emotionally damaging. When you go traveling with them, you forget about all of that. You want to be with your parents no matter where they are, as a child.
The True Story Of Life As The Daughter Of Trucker Parents.
My wife has a really close friend that has parents that have been truck drivers from the time she was born well into her adult life. I asked her one day if she would do me a favor and share her story with everyone. I asked this because I think it is interesting and informative.
Informative in the idea that it can be difficult as an adult to see how things may relate to children. This is the true story of a woman, who was raised by truck drivers.
“My name is Yvonne, I was asked to write this for Michael since he felt that my story would help others in some way. He stated, “Maybe there is one person in the world somewhere, or maybe a child somewhere that has felt how you have. Your story will help them better understand how trucker life felt from the child’s perspective.”
With that in mind, I agreed. So we shall begin with me as an infant, and my father was in truck driving. As he traveled far and wide, state to state. While my mother was staying home working other types of jobs. I stayed with my aunt when my mother would have to go to work.
My mother before I was born, used to travel with my dad. She enjoyed traveling with my dad on the open roads of trucking. Before me, my father, with my mother at his side, would truck drive without any worries, or care.
Back then they would come home to just a home; empty. One day they decided to start a family. Life changes of course, when these choices were made. No parent is ever ready for children, planned or unplanned, but my parents knew what needed to be done.
Though, truck driving was in my mothers’ blood. She made a temporary sacrifice to stay home and work little local jobs to be with me daily while my father drove Over the Road (OTR).
My parents provided everything that their children needed or wanted. My mother would earn just small checks and still pay for babysitters, which was expensive.
As I grew older, my parents having a second child, now totaling 2 children. It started to become tougher on me watching my parents leave for work. Especially, my father, I remember faintly crying at the top of my lungs, begging him not to go.
He worked overnights, so when it was supposed to be my bedtime, he would leave. I remember that when I woke up, he would be home. He spent most of his day with me, even though he needed to sleep to be able to work his upcoming night shift.
My mother became a CNA, while my dad worked his overnight job. His job was a rendering plant, driving big semi-trucks hauling animals. We would visit him at work sometimes at night and I remember seeing him drive. It would stink to high heaven of deceased animals.
After many years of trying to create a set life with two kids, my mother began school to become a licensed truck driver. By the time a couple of months passed, she was driving the big trucks.
I was already in third, almost fourth grade and she just mastered backing up and parking. She was told to get miles in, so she trained at this company that hauled sugar beets.
Quite sometime after, she worked for a different company. I don’t remember what she hauled, but they told her that when I turned 10 years old, I would be able to travel with her. So, I couldn’t wait to turn ten, I’d count the days.
As soon as my mom began driving trucks, my father was working with her. He quit his job that he was at for so many years.
Many of the truck driving jobs that they worked at, didn’t allow children aboard, but my parents would take us in secret.
Traveling in a semi truck was interesting. It was my parents’ job, but it was like a vacation to us.
What it was like being a child of a trucker.
It had its perks and its flaws. We got to eat and watch movies while on the road. Then, on the other hand, we had to wait a day or so to take a shower. In which we would take those at truck stops using shower tickets.
During our summer breaks or our short, two-day weekends, they would take us. When we went with our parents, either traveling with or staying home with one, it was nice. We didn’t have to be taken care of by anyone else.
I enjoyed the mid-eastern states. We would listen for weather reports and sometimes we made it before any disaster big or small. Tornadoes were common.
When my sister and I both had to be at school, my parents didn’t enjoy having to leave us behind with anyone regardless of who it may be. They would call mornings, days and nights checking up with us.
Even when we did stay with people we knew, it was still miserable. We felt homesick. There were times when we stayed with neighbors just across the street. We woke up, got ready for school, walked to the neighbors, ate breakfast and head to the bus stop.
After school, it was straight to the neighbors for dinner and homework, then go home when it was time for bed. We could not be a part of after-school programs, sports, friend sleepovers, etc.
If we stayed with someone we didn’t know nor were never close to, my mother gave us a “safe word” we could text her in case of an emergency. We had a small flip phone to keep in contact with her.
Now, you’re probably thinking, “Why would your mother leave her kids, while OTR, with someone that she doesn’t know?” and with complete honesty, I do not know why.
I used the safe-word once. We had this babysitter who could not cook for the life of us. I couldn’t stand it, I didn’t like the way she took care of us. She didn’t appreciate me doing that.
My mother, who knows where she was at the time, came quickly and was home by the next morning. My parents enjoyed trucking but didn’t enjoy working under somebody. They decided to make payments for a truck and run their own trucking business.
Now running a business, I believe, isn’t always cake and flowers. Which, in this case, wasn’t for my parents.
They hired people and if they didn’t meet their standards, they would let them go. Running the business didn’t last long for them. I give my parents props for even trying the dang thing, but it began to divide us. My mother began to move us kids. It was hard.
We lived in North Dakota at first in this weather below zero and go to different schools. I enjoyed living there, but it was hard for me being divided. We went back and forth, state to home state, as my parents put effort into making the family whole again.
Those years were very stressful until we all moved south. My parents continued to truck but worked for different companies under different people. My mother started to stay home, while my father then became a mechanic for semi trucks.
We went to church and my parents met a man who owned his own ranch/farm, he owned so much land. My dad worked for him for a few years and that man provided a home for us out in the ranches.
I already had my own job and moved out by the time my parents were provided that home. Today my parents live in a different home provided by the same man and my father is a foreman at this man’s ranches. Where he continues to drive large tractors and trucks.
Friendships Of A Trucker’s Daughter!
I remember going to school sad or crying and everyone would ask why I was always sad. I remember telling them that after every so many days my parents leave for a week or so to truck drive.
That they travel to “tons” of states to drop off loads and they can’t take me because I must go to school.
I never wanted to tell them I have a babysitter. Even if I was just a 9 year old, it was embarrassing. Unless they asked, I would say, oh my neighbor or aunt is watching us.
I remember my friends getting upset with me because I didn’t want to play with them. They tried to be there to cheer me up, but they were kids, they want to play!
I think my teachers saw it because my parents wouldn’t always make it to conferences. Sometimes when they did, my teacher would make little above average compliments on me.
It was hard for me to focus on school. I didn’t always have the best grades, I didn’t finish homework all the time nor did I turn in projects on time.
My parents would be mad because I wasn’t doing great in school, but I couldn’t find it in me to do better.
I was not motivated in school to do good. Unless my teacher would tell me I was doing a good job and to keep going
I remember when I was first starting school, I would always receive an award, and I believe that was when my parent or parents leaving wasn’t affecting me as much.
Celebrating Holidays, Birthdays, And Special Events!
Honestly, holidays, birthdays and other special occasions was never a problem growing up. What made us sad was the day’s eventually had to come to an end. Soon enough within days, my parents would have to leave again.
Sometimes only one parent would be there for the occasion, but it didn’t matter to us because at least one of them was there and they made the day special.
As long as we had one or both parents, we were happy. Our birthdays were always big and delightful.
We’d wake up the morning of our party to a huge bounce house outside. It was always a surprise for us every year. All of our friends would come, and it was because of my parents.
My parents on Christmas would make time on their busy schedules to record a video that convinced us that Santa was stacking presents under the tree.
I remember waking up to my mom running to wake us up and say something along the lines of, “I heard Santa as I was getting ready for work! He left! I recorded it! Let’s open presents and we can watch the video!”
Oh my, it was a thrill.
There was no special occasion in my life where a parent or both parents were not there. My working hard parents made those special days special for us.
Of course, after a while when we were growing older, they kind of just hit us with reality and stopped going all out for these occasions, but they were always there.
These limited days that we were all able to be together. Always made up for the days they were gone and had to leave us with a babysitter.
What I Didn’t Know As A Child Of A Trucker!
When you begin to have children, you want to provide for them with the things they need. Heck, even with things they want as well. So, you find a job with great pay, benefits, and etc. Those jobs can be great and all, but it’s stressful when you have children.
From a parent’s point of view, you haven’t been home all day possibly all week or longer because of work. They’ve been either with what seems like a stranger to them or a family member that they are not always close with.
Their days have been long without you. Once you come through the door, they want your full attention. So, not only is it stressful for you working at this really great place, it’s stressful for the children as well, because you leave to work. You leave to provide for them. They don’t know that, not until they start getting older.
Would I change anything about my childhood?
Yes, but I couldn’t tell you how or what. I grew up this way and I couldn’t tell you what I would expect of my parents back then if I wanted to.
My parents don’t know how hard it was for us kids being children of truck drivers, but I believe they know it was difficult. We grew up with a roof over our head, food in our bellies and toys to play with. So that I am thankful for, but I could never re-live that lifestyle again.
There were good times and there were bad times, and we learned from them. Growing up watching your parents leave to work, makes you feel like they don’t love you, but if we were to be in their steps, it’s hard to juggle those things in life and not lose your sanity
As a parent, who now stays home, it was hard to go to work while having a child. Dealing with babysitters, wasn’t as difficult for me as a mom, because I knew them, but my child? It’s a different story.
I guess you can say truck driving can be a hard job to juggle if you’re a parent. It can be a great and fun job, but when you have kids, it can affect them mentally and emotionally.
I’m glad where my family is at right now and I wouldn’t want to go back.“