Monday, January 24, 2011

But I Love Driving Carpool

My son recently passed his behind-the-wheel driver’s test, and even though my husband and I are both sticklers about good grades and passing tests and all that jazz, I must confess that this was one test I was kind of, sort of, well, really and truly wishing my son would fail. 

My friends thought I was nuts to be making such a big deal about it.  “Think about it Jane, no more driving him around everywhere.  No more carpool,” they said with joy (and a little bit of envy).

But here’s the deal:  I actually love driving carpool…especially with teenagers.  Perhaps it’s a sign that I don’t get out nearly enough, but some of my best laughs have been while driving carpool…with teenagers.  I wish I could share with you all the funny shenanigans we have been through these last couple of  years, but most of the laughs have been from those spontaneous, you-really-had-to-be-there moments.  I think there are a couple, though, that I can maybe (well,  hopefully) do justice to.

Carpool Shenanigan #1  I pick up the kids one day and it’s my two kids, plus “the neighbor boy” and a friend of my daughter’s.  “The neighbor boy” is actually David, my son’s best friend.  We moved into our current house about 10 years ago and they became instant best friends.  David is hilarious in a very subtle, wry sort of way.  (For example:  At a recent cross country banquet, the boys’ coach said, “David looks at me out of the corners of his eyes and I don’t know if he’s thinking, ‘Drop dead, coach’ or ‘Sounds great, coach.’”  That sums up David’s sense of humor perfectly.)

My daughter’s friend is Karen, and we have literally known her for her entire life, including her time in the womb!  David and Karen are both great kids, and I’m glad they are in my kids’ lives, but that Karen, well, she’s a talker.  Not that that’s a bad thing, mind you, I’m a talker, too, but seriously, this girl’s in a chatterbox league all her own. 

So we’re driving home one day and she’s yakking away (her ability to talk non-stop is really quite amazing).  We pull up to her house and she’s still talking.  She gets out of the car and she’s still talking.  She’s standing on the curb and she’s still taking, until…David looks at her out of the corners of his eyes and starts to close the door!  She shuts right up and the look on her face is classic “deer in the headlights.”  In fact, the look on all of our faces was classic “deer in the headlights.”  We couldn’t believe he’d just shut the door on her like that!  Of course he was kidding (well, that’s his story anyway).  We all laughed and listened to the rest of whatever it was that Karen was saying, closed the door for real, and drove away and laughed some more.   

Carpool Shenanigan #2  I pick up the kids one day, and my daughter’s, well, let’s just say she’s not in the best of moods.  I’m sure the fault was all mine.  I probably had the nerve to tell her something like just get in the car and don’t worry that your brother nabbed the front seat (or something equally horrible that we horrible moms say to our poor, sweet, misunderstood children).

As luck would have it, the song Just the Way You Are by Bruno Mars came on the radio at about the same time that she rolled her eyes at me (again) and said “You’re so lame” (again).  If you’ve never heard the song, here are a few of the lyrics (I hope I'm not breaking any rules here, but they were on the interenet right there for anybody to just copy/paste): 

Oh, her eyes, her eyes make the stars look like they're not shinin'
Her hair, her hair falls perfectly without her tryin'
She's so beautiful
And I tell her everyday
And the chorus goes:
“When I see your face
There's not a thing that I would change
'Cause you're amazing
Just the way you are”

Well, I changed her, she, etc., to my, I’m, etc., and proceeded to sing at the top of my lungs:

My eyes, my eyes make the stars look like they're not shinin'
My hair, my hair falls perfectly without me tryin'
I’m so beautiful
And I tell myself everyday

When I see my face
There's not a thing that I would change
'Cause I’m amazing
Just the way I am

Did I mention I'm a horrible singer?  Well I am!  And we are all laughing hysterically, except, of course, my daughter, who is trying very hard not to laugh hysterically, only I know she’s trying hard not to laugh, and she’s knows I know she’s trying hard not to laugh, which makes us all laugh even harder!  By the end of the song she’s at least smiling and I’m feeling pretty good about myself…there’s just something so satisfying about getting the best of your kids every now and then now isn’t there?  And now those days have come to an end and I'm feeling anything but satisfied.   

I know I should be proud of my son for passing his test, and I know I should be relieved to not have to rush around town driving everyone around anymore, but I’m not.  I’m sad that these fun teenagers will no longer be a part of my daily routine (in a way, they signaled the end of my work day, and the laughter they provided served as a great transition between work and home).  I’m sad thinking about all the laughs I will miss out on.  And most of all, I’m sad that my son has taken yet another step in his journey away from us. 


  1. Sometimes all that driving around seems like a burden but I know I will miss it too!

  2. Some days it truly is a burden! But I tell ya' what, the image of my son driving away in the car all by himself is forever etched in my memory. Remember when they took their first steps and they were walking toward you? Ahh...big sigh...