For more than sixteen years I drove him around.
I remember the months he rode in the bulky infant car seat. His head was never tiny but his body was. I would have to turn all the way around and look to convince myself he was actually in there because he was sleeping so soundly. A few months later, he turned around to face the front and I would keep my eyes on him in the rear view mirror over and over and over. I couldn’t get enough glances of that sweet face.
It wasn’t too long before we discovered that a full sippy-cup of apple juice in the car was going to result in him throwing up. And pretty soon after that, he started kicking the back of my seat with his growing long legs.
We kept five million books in the car for him to read. He’s always been a reader that would sit for hours. He loved riding in my mom’s “taxi” as a kid also, because she had a phone book in the pocket of the seat in front of him. He said “Mamo, I love this book. Everything is alphabetical!” That’s our boy.
If you really want to talk to him, you have to make sure he DOESN’T have a book.
You have to ask questions, and be willing to talk about musical key signatures and memes and Harry Potter characters. On a good day, I would talk to that boy about anything in the world.
Over the years, I’ve shuttled him to school and band and tennis and church and all the things. I’ve stopped to get him over 3,000 vanilla root beers from Sonic. I’ve showed up with warm cookies and milk after school on occasion just to see him smile or get that in-the-car side hug from him.
Of course not every day was like that. Some days I was frustrated and tired and hardly paid attention to him. Some days I made him sit in the band hall and wait for me while I worked, or I had a friend get him instead. I can’t pretend that I’ve been the perfect mama every day or given him all of my best time and attention, but there sure have been some sweet moments.
I know he will still ride with me some. Thankfully he still likes me and we will still have great times together. But the taxi service is losing business. It’s no longer needed so much. The boy can drive himself, and he can even drive his sisters.
This is a truly great thing. He is a cautious, careful and very responsible driver that I am very proud of. He is growing up as he should, and my role is shifting as it should.
But nevertheless, there’s that twinge of lament at seeing him grow and change and morph into a capable human that isn’t dependent on me for much.