Swimmer girl turns 16 today. We are very excited for her – but not as excited as she is, of course. Among all the other things that come with turning 16, she will soon have her driver’s license.
And for me, that means my taxi-driver days will finally draw to a close after more than a quarter-century of commission. In those years, I have hauled my babies and toddlers and children and adolescents (and their friends) to every place they needed and wanted to go. I have put over 250,000 miles on four cars in the process. We’ve eaten, spilled, upchucked; changed diapers and clothes; laughed, cried and argued and fussed in my mom-taxis. We’ve had a few roadside breakdowns and a couple chats with policemen and troopers, but thankfully no accidents with a baby or child on board.
If you’re a young mom reading this, I can promise you this: the years and miles will fly by. Your taste in music will adapt to theirs, and vice-versa. We have explored the full extent of the radio dial, tuning in and out of country, jazz, hip-hop, Christian and dabbled in rap and alternative. Classic rock is our shared language. We’ve belted out southern rock together, argued over who-sang-that-song, and deciphered lyrics more times than I can count. Looking back, I think we were blessed to not have built-in DVD players and portable DS players at our disposal. Yes, we had our share of backseat territory disputes and petty squabbles borne out of boredom. But in the close confines of the car, you have a captive audience – just unplug them from the electronics occasionally and you might be surprised by what they confide in you on an otherwise silent ride.
I have cemented my relationship with my adolescent children just by sitting in the driver’s seat – many deep, heart- and soul-searching conversations with each child have taken place in the car, and most of them started out as nothing more than a ride home from school or church, or a quick jaunt to town, just mom and kid.
So enjoy your taxi driver status while it lasts – because it doesn’t last forever.
P.S. – Happy birthday, baby girl. One pink velvet cake coming up!