We’ve added a driver to the family.
In truth it’s been a bit of a long time coming, yet I still can’t say I was fully prepared for it.
Oh, yes the sticker shock of adding a young driver to the family is still setting in. Even if he is driving a 16-year-old car around, the fact remains kids are expensive.
Years ago some simple wisdom was shared with me by a more experienced mom. Her son was quite a bit older than mine. So one Christmas as I grumbled about the expense of a Barbie Dream House, Legos and elaborate Matchbox race tracks the seasoned mom simply smiled. Her words which followed were wisdom I had yet to gain.
“As they get older,” she said, “things become smaller, but they’re more expensive.”
“Just wait,” she chuckled.
I truly feel this “phase” of parenting can best be described as: you don’t know, until you know.
That’s what I’ve come to realize now as I watch my two high schoolers load up and leave for school each morning. The reality of my son with just a year and a half left to high school hitting me in the face more than I care to acknowledge.
Then there’s the morning “grab my wallet,” which I seem to find myself saying at least once a week, at no prompting of my duo – I might add. Typing this I’m realizing the necessity to go back to the budget, however this time in the company of my kids.
I still recall a Cosby show episode, years ago where Theo got an at home economics lesson in how much things cost. And while my kids are not asking for money on the daily, I do (for some reason) feel compelled to make sure they aren’t leaving the house without a couple bucks in their wallet.
Oh I can hear some of you now. Make them get a job. Must be nice to have a car at that age. Is she really complaining about kids growing up.
I recognize these are indeed first world problems. In reality, they really aren’t “problems,” but rather realities which truly snuck up on me and maybe some of you as well.
I mean, after all we transitioned from a year and a half of living in isolation to, Oh! hey, you’re old enough to drive now. It’s all just a bit crazy really.
How does this happen so fast? That’s the question I’m faced with most, as of late.
It truly seemed that one morning I woke and heard a totally different voice down the hall of our home. I’m not kidding. A voice of a man responding to a question with an “Okay mom” in an octave I hadn’t heard before. Sweet little cheeks no longer present as the physical changes of adolescence has transformed them.
No longer do we speak of class parties, field trips and play dates. Now we speak of class selection, rehearsals and sports practice. It’s just all mind blowing.
In short, I’m grateful for all those moments, as well as their transition to independence. No one ever said parenting was easy. They also never said watching blossom wouldn’t hurt a bit.
As my best friend’s mom reminded me, years ago as we set out for college; in the end parents are simply stewards. These beautiful souls we are entrusted with for but a minute of their lifetime. We are fortunate to have that much. While the moments they may be fleeting, it is in both our minds as well as our hearts where they will remain forever young.
Teresa Hammond is a staff reporter for The Oakdale Leader, The Riverbank News and The Escalon Times. She may be reached at email@example.com or by calling 209-847-3021.