My son is 16 years old.
For those of you who do not have children, this number may mean nothing to you. It may not strike fear into your heart. It may not ignite inside your soul the devastating fear, the agonizing terror that lives in the heart of every parent.
My son is nearly ready to get his driver’s license.
I stalled the inevitable by making the boy take Driver’s Education. That gets you a break of approximately $0.00000004 on insurance. (Incidentally, I think it is crap that insurance is more for a boy than for a girl. So much for equality, right?) However, in spite of my many attempts to pretend that my children are still small, the boy is nearly ready to get his driver’s license.
He will be able, according to the law of our great state, to operate a motor vehicle on his own.
(Who made these laws? Someone without children, I guarantee.)
I consider myself a very adaptable person. In fact, it is one of my strong suits. I’m not one of these people who get bogged down by the fear of change. I laugh at those people. Ha! But someone I find myself ill prepared for my son to drive. It isn’t just him–all of his buddies are also driving. A few of them are older than my son and have already received their operators license. A couple of them drive themselves to school every day. I still visualize these kids as the same ones who couldn’t tie their shoes without assistance, and they are out on the same roads as you and me, with no adult supervision, in vehicles capable of many thousands of dollars of personal property damage.
God help us.
The worst part of it all is that I’m not sure if I’m upset because my son is 16 years old and driving (and he is a good driver, very cautious and law-abiding) or if I’m upset because this is just another reminder of my own impending geezer-hood.
I am not ready for this. I myself identify as a cool young person. I listen to cool music and drive too fast (in a minivan) and have tattoos and all of the other stuff that makes people cool. But how can I be a cool young person when a human being that I grew inside of my own body is now old enough to operate a motor vehicle?
Okay, I’ll tell you the truth. I’ve been sly about it and pretended like it was about so many things that it wasn’t. It isn’t really about my son. It isn’t about him driving.
It’s about the fact that I’ll be 40 in a couple of days.
You read that right. I will be forty years old. Conceivably half way through my whole entire life. If I’m lucky, that is.
I cannot stand to hear about people having midlife crises, especially men with the sports cars and the blonde mistresses and such. But honestly, I have to seriously ask myself if I’m not in the throes of a midlife crisis right now. Why else would all of this be hitting me so hard? What other explanation is there that the contemplation of my life and the life of my son and his friends should cause me such distress?
I’m sure the wine has nothing to do with it.
Regardless, my son is sixteen years old, and getting ready to get his license. No matter how much I piss and moan (and drink), time just keeps on slipping by. I thought I had lots of time. I used to complain about how slowly time passed.
I’m sorry, okay? I’m sorry. I didn’t know. I take it back. Just please, please slow down a little. They can drive now, so let’s just take a breath. Let’s take a minute to get our bearings.
Let’s realize how precious our time is, and how much we take it for granted, okay? I swear, we’ll do better from here on out.