When Tony Capraro says driving a big rig runs in the family, he’s serious. Both his mother and father, his grandfather, his sisters and younger brother all drove an 18-wheeler at some point in their lives. “It’s in my blood,” he claims. “It’s what I know how to do. Even as a very young child, when my dad came home I ran and sat in his seat with my hands on the steering wheel.”
Like many drivers, Tony likes the freedom of driving a truck and being his own boss in terms of how he spends his time. He also says, “The money is good, but you’ve got to keep moving.”
Tony drives a flatbed truck for Steelman Transportation. He’s been driving for at least 8 years since he turned 21-years-old. He hauls many things and enjoys his work, but doesn’t much care for “tarping” a load. He probably has company in that area.
Today Tony’s boys see him behind the wheel. He is the dad to Matt (7) and Clayton (1). It’s not always easy to stay in touch with young children while driving over the road, but Tony makes it a priority. “I call and talk to my son every night,” he explains, “and every morning I get photos from my son’s mother. He hears my voice every single day.”
One of the biggest challenges Tony faces is the fact he’s not in a committed relationship with the mothers of either of his sons. One boy’s mother makes it very easy for Tony to stay in touch. It’s more difficult with the other son’s mom. It’s a difficult thing to talk about, but Tony was willing to share his story because he knows many over-the-road truckers face the same challenge.
“A decent relationship with the mother of your child is critical to a dad having access, especially if the child is young,” he says.
Tony does his best to get home to his son every two-four weeks. “When I get to my house,” he says about the mother of one son, “she’s there as soon as I hit the driveway, no questions asked.” This clearly means a lot to Tony.
Tony admits having dad gone a lot is not easy for kids. He should know since his dad was a trucker as well. At the same time, many children have fathers who cannot be with them as much as they like, e.g., children with fathers in the military, or who travel a lot for business. Some fathers live in the same home with their children, but rarely give them focused attention. Fathers who travel might be encouraged to know that their desire to be with their children is the most important thing, i.e., even if they can’t be present in person, their interaction via FaceTime, texting, etc. reassures a child of his value and importance to his dad.
Advice to Truckers on Broken Relationships
When it comes to staying in touch with your children when you’re driving over the road, especially if you’re not in a committed relationship with the mother of those children, Tony encourages:
1. Put differences aside.
2 . Remember, it’s about the child.
3 . Communicate all you can. Use FaceTime.
4 . Be there when you can, especially for the big moments and some of the small ones too.