Sunday, February 19, 2012

Taxi Cab--Five Bucks A Ride.

There is nothing worse than getting a phone call that a loved one has been injured or killed due to a car/motorcycle accident.  I got one of those phone calls many years ago, when my ex's brother Jason was in a motorcycle accident.  I had just talked to him that week--he was living in RI and was planning on coming out to CO before he headed off into the military.  I was in the midst of a divorce with his brother, but Jason didn't care.  We were close regardless--always had been.  He was more of a brother to me than my own brother.  I remember when I heard the news I kept saying, "But I just talked to him!  He's coming out here!"  I didn't want to know he was in a coma.  I didn't want to know that he died.  But he did.  Just a kid in his 20s.

When my son turned the inevitable 16, and was able to obtain his Driver's License, he was extremely excited.  I, on the other hand, was not.  The worry that transpires the moment he leaves until his arrival time is ridiculous.  I panic.  I worry.  I fear the ringing phone.  What if is a constant in my head.  His safety is my utmost concern--and it's something I have relatively no control of.  Makes me crazy.  When he was given his car he knew in order to keep it there'd be some rules.  The basics include paying for his own gas, own insurance, and any maintenance and/or repairs.  And he's done a great job with that.

Being proactive parents, the four of us sat down and constructed a Driving Contract for him.  We all wanted to insure his safety and our states of mind.  His contract included not trying to impress others with his car, speeding, keeping up his grades and things of that nature.  There was, of course, the rule about if he were ever to become intoxicated he'd need to call one of us immediately to come and get him--and if he were to ever get into a car or drive himself while under the influence, he'd lose all car ownership until two months after he graduates high school.

After receiving his report card, it came to our attention that he fell a bit below the required GPA to maintain his car and lost his driving privilege for one month.  And then we got a notice saying he was seen driving fast--not a ticket, but still not okay.  And a teacher called me to say he "overheard my son talking about racing."  And with that the rules of the contract are in full-force.  No car for him until April 15th.

Being the stubborn, pain-in-the-ass teenager that my wonderful son is, the first reaction was that of anger and he went into immediate defense mode.  "Fine.  You'll have to drive me to work then.  I don't care, it's you that'll have to pay for gas."  Oh really?  Hmmm.

And so another rule quickly came into the plan.  One that includes this taxi cab mom getting paid for her services.  Five bucks in my hand or the car simply is unable to move.  And he hemmed and he hawed and he had to reach into his pocket--something that kills him.  But it's a necessary lesson.  He needs to learn rules are in place for HIS SAFETY, his emergencies do not equate to mine, and if he wants to keep his car he needs his job--and getting there is his responsibility, not mine or anyone else's.

This week was tough for him.  But I can already see this change.  This morning as I took him to work, his demeanor had changed.  He chatted it up as I drove him, showing me pictures of some awesome cars that rolled into the Safeway yesterday when he worked.  With ease, and believe me my son does not part with his money with ease, he paid for his ride to work--thanking me as he exited the car.

Although there are times when I want to fold, and although it's so much easier to just let him drive himself to work, these lessons need to be taught.  And it's moments like this, these tiny somewhat insignificant moments, that I know I'll never forget.  He's maturing right in front of my eyes--growing into a young man that I hope and pray will learn to stay within those boundaries that protect him when he's on the road.  I don't ever want to get another phone call informing me my loved one was in a wreck.  I want my son to know driving is a privilege, not a right.  And he'll get it--someday.


  1. Good for you! It sure is tough to hold the line, but what an incredible life lesson you are teaching your son.
    I know that feeling when your kids go off and drive. My oldest is 26 and I still get nervous when he mentions he is going to be driving somewhere! Another friend mentioned the same thing. We both wondered whether our moms were nervous about our driving, or whether it has become a bigger deal as life moves faster.

  2. I sure hope so! I'm just like you--won't matter how old my kids get, I'll always worry...