My oldest son is now 16. He has been licensed by the state of California to drive. However, he has not purchased a vehicle for himself. After a few discussions on what car we intended to purchase him (which usually ended in me pointing and laughing at him – maybe mostly in my own head, but a little bit for real too) he managed to grasp the concept that we would SHARE my car. And, if ever I purchase myself a new(er) car I will probably allow him to continue to drive my car.
I drive an old car. My husband drives an old car. Our insurance is low (well, as low as it can be with a 16 year old boy on our policy). And, because I have no intention of purchasing a car for my son to drive I am happy to share as long as he continues to abide by the following conditions:
- Driving safely! This includes general maintenance that I hate like checking the oil to be sure the engine doesn’t blow up, making sure the water level is fine, filling it with fuel so we doesn’t get stranded, no texting while driving…ever. These basic parent “rule-things” that I think all kids have to agree to when driving.
- He must text me when he arrives somewhere or leaves somewhere. I want to know where to look for his body if something awful happens. I don’t want to be the mom who has to tell the police “well, he left at 6:30am and said something about friends, but I haven’t seen or heard from him in nearly 24 hours”. It doesn’t have to be elaborate. Just a simple ‘here’ or ‘leaving’.
- Drive siblings to school and bringing them home. Carting siblings is a must because if I don’t have a car someone has to cart them.
- Running random (and probably mostly boring) errands as needed for me. The fact that he’d probably rather sit on the couch and text his girlfriend or spend awhile playing X-box means nothing to me. Me providing fuel, vehicle, and insurance = him running my errands cheerfully (or at least cheerfully when I see him. He can grumble in the car if I’m not there to hear it).
Apparently, the one thing I didn’t cover is the meaning of sharing. I thought this was covered in Kindergarten. But, I learned yesterday that he needed refresher course.
On days when I have no need of my car I allow him to take the car (filled with the twins) to school. I get to work 2 hours before our office opens for business. Sometimes I have actual work I can start on. Sometimes I don’t. Then, after he’s done with school and any after school activities he is supposed to come pick me up. Yesterday was one such day. He dropped me off at 6:30am and headed off to his 7:00am class. He texted me when he arrived (yes, all I got was ‘here’, but it was enough). Then, I worked all day. He did his thing. I assumed he would be at my office about 5:30. But, he didn’t arrive. About 6:00pm I decided to text him. My goal was to not sound paranoid so I did not text “WHERE ARE YOU!?!” I sent a simple “hey, what time do you think you’ll be here?” He texted back, “I’m at home. I just made food. I will pick you up on my way to basketball practice.” (note: Basketball practice was still another hour and a half away) I looked at my phone for a second and then sent another text, “Is that a joke?” He texted, “no”. And, so I picked up the phone and called him. We had a short but clear discussion on SHARING. You know, the fact that we are sharing MY car, MY fuel, etc. That little tidbit. He hung up and came to pick me up. When I got in the car I said “I’m sorry, but what were you thinking? Your objective when you have my car is as soon as you leave school to COME GET ME because I am STRANDED at the office.” He said “well, I thought about it, but that just seemed like a lot of running around.” My mind was reeling. Oh.no.you.did.not. Really?
It should be known (and recognized – I expect some sort of gold star on my chart somewhere where records of such things are kept!) that I did not abuse him. I didn’t even yell. I just agreed. Yes. It is a lot of running around to get everyone where they need to go, picked up when they are finished, and still do the things we want to do.
I’m not sure I can make it through another two teens. Pray for me, friends!