Yes, I have rules. I have two sons 17 months apart and I knew deep in my heart that when it came to the driver’s license season, I would be in deep hurt with trying to pay for my sons’ driver’s training, license fee, insurance, gas, and, and, and….. not to mention the worry involved in keeping them afloat. You see, mothers have a DNA code that is part of their brain, where they must visualize their baby child driver-wanna-be actually driving safely, following the rules, and NOT talking on their cell phone because you are positive they cannot multitask at the young age of 16.
So – my rules were modest and simple:
So, both boys opted to just not get their license nor drive until they were well out of the house, in their mid-20s.
My oldest joined the Army right out of high school. This is another story – but all their life I teased them that they would have to join the Army in order to pay for college. I was TEASING! But my oldest took me seriously and of all things he went into the Infantry. Shooting guns. Tell me that I didn’t just ramp up my scale of worrying to a fever pitch. Bad enough I worried when they would be driving – now shooting guns! Anyway, I was slightly mollified by the fact that he still didn’t have a driver’s license and therefore didn’t drive. But his buddies in the Army talked him into buying a truck, which he kept on base and the buddies spent their spare time tinkering on it. They taught him how to drive and so he drove around the barracks until he ran out of gas. They would pool their money and fill it with gas and he would venture to the other end of the base and back. Finally got his license when he was 24 years old.
My youngest knew how to drive; he would sneak out to my car and drive it around the block, until I caught him one day and grounded him for the rest of his natural life. He finally got his license when he was 26 years old.
Now that they had their licenses and their own cars, my mothering skills hyped up a notch, and I had to mentally focus on their driving skills by osmosis. It’s a mother’s duty. Drive carefully, I would say. Don’t pick up hitchhikers. Pay your insurance. Follow the rules. Don’t speed. Don’t tailgate. Don’t pass or turn without your blinkers. Be courteous. Drive defensively because all the other drivers on the road are maniacs.
The boys would tolerate me. They would nod their heads in agreement and then peel off down the road.
Even today, however, I “worry” them to safety. I always, must tell them to drive carefully. It’s like a spell I put on them that protects them. If I forget to tell them, I am in a total panic mode that something terribly awful will happen to them (I also tell them they have to call me when they are safely home – to which one or the other will say, "Mom! I’m 35 years old!") And I say that doesn’t matter. Call me! I have to sit on my hands to NOT call them on their cell phone, because they might actually answer the cell phone and be driving their killer car in traffic while talking on their cell phone! My work is never done!