Archive for December, 2013

I am now the proud (and scared) mama of a new driver. Yikes. I guess I shouldn’t be so shocked. I mean, I’m well aware of the boy’s age, having given birth to him and all. Sixteen and learner’s permit go hand and hand. And everyone tells you when they’re newborns, no, when you announce that you’re pregnant, how fast the years go by and in between 2 AM feedings, potty training and lost teeth, you don’t believe them, not for a minute, because you are TIRED. You love kissing those tiny hands, chasing the monsters away and soothing the boo-boos that usually look much worse than they actually are. You nurse them through fevers, upset tummies, and failed friendships only to look up one day and there’s a young man standing there, not that chubby-cheeked cherub you’ve been accustomed to. And he wants the keys.

The past year of steady college mail should have been a warning, as should have been the visit to UM, buying clothes in the men’s department instead of the boys’ department, and a sense of humour that gets a bit more sophisticated every day. My head knew all of this, it really did. My head was practical, helping him talk through which colleges that he wants to go to (soon) and being various scholarship options. My heart, however, seemed to have ignored all of that, reasoning that college was more than a year away and that problem would be dealt with when the time came. Therefore, my heart was floored when driving school was completed, with the highest score in the class, and it was time for him to drive. With me. And no set of brakes on my side of the car.

All of a sudden, the prospect of him leaving is very, very real and while my heart, and my head for that matter, are so very proud of him and want him to make all of his dreams come true, there’s also the realization that world can be a not-so-nice place. There are people he will meet who will abuse his trust, people who talk on cell phones while driving and could crash into him, times when he will make the wrong decisions that come with tough consequences, and the tug-of-war between the values that we’ve raised him with and the temptations of the world away from home. We won’t be there, physically, to tell him what to do or to protect him; he’ll have to decide for himself.

While I would hope that he always makes the right choice and follows the example that we’ve tried to set, realistically, I know that it won’t always be so. It wasn’t with me, Marty, or any of my siblings and cousins. Grown children are going to make mistakes. They’re going to do things that, if they were still living at home, they would never do. That bothers me, as I’m sure it bothered my mother and all of the mothers since the beginning of time. What I worry about the most, however, is that he’ll make a decision that could change his life in a bad way, or, God forbid, end his life. Some teenagers do. My father was one of them and he died at the very young age of 20. The specifics aren’t clear, but there were drugs involved and the choices he made that night led to him crashing his car into a tree, leaving his family without a son, a grandson, a brother, my mother without a fiancĂ©e, and me without a dad. The bad choices that he could possibly make have much higher stakes than they used to.

Now, the boy has a pretty good head on his shoulders. He usually makes very good choices and has a good group of friends, so the chances are that he’s going to be just fine and will be able to fret over his own child one day. This is just all really, REALLY hitting me now and I’m struggling to not be a clingy mom and to let him find his way, all the while balancing the parental control. I’m probably not done posting on this topic, as we go through the next few years. In the meantime, new parents, I know that you won’t understand this, but I feel it is my sacred duty to tell you to cherish those babies, snuggle them to pieces now, because you’ll blink and they will be towering over you with big shoes. And they’ll be asking for the keys.

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