March 8, 2018

Taking the Back Seat

My two sons have been my focus for nearly 21 years. With that, where the heck has the time gone?! So yes, I have a few more grey hairs, perhaps more than a few, as my colourist would attest. Now, with my eldest son away at university; it’s just my youngest and me at home. Fortunately, the three of us have managed to maintain our connection through the wonders of texting, emails and FaceTime. Seriously though, I can’t imagine how I would navigate this phase without the convenience of modern communication.

Our conversations vary from the ridiculous to the jaw-dropping “You said that?” moments. Most of the time, I am in awe of the wisdom that spills from their mouths. Kids these days are remarkably sharp. Perhaps I should give myself more credit for a job well done. Parenting can be a thankless job, and I hope to reap the rewards soon, if not already.

Every morning, I embark on a half-hour commute with my younger son to school, armed with coffee and wielding control over the playlist. Our route is meticulously planned, tried, and tested for optimal speed and ease—no room for deviation. As my son approaches his high school graduation, a mere three months away, I find myself confronting yet another shift in my life. It’s a positive transition, but as the saying goes, “all good things must come to an end.”

In the blink of an eye, we’ve transitioned from babies in-car seats to young men who confidently take the wheel. However, If my car could talk, there would undoubtedly be some funny stories. That said, I will miss our morning commutes and the conversations that unfolded—some real doozies. No topic was off-limits, solving world problems or me going on about one thing or another, trying to get a yes or no out of a sleepy teen. Admittedly, I’m the chatty one. I can’t stand silence in the car, and my son is too polite to tell me to be quiet, but for the most part, he is a willing participant.

There have been moments when I’ve caught myself in a “Pepe Le Pew” mode, unintentionally overwhelming my son, my own “Penelope Pussycat,” with a barrage of questions and stories. I swear, at one point, he seemed to be staring out the passenger window, silently mouthing “HELP ME” to the car next to us! LOL.

However, I’ve been behind the wheel for many years, and letting go is so hard. I don’t want this moment to end. Nonetheless, it’s the right time, and I believe that my sons deserve their chance in the driver’s seat, both literally and metaphorically, steering the course toward their destiny, wherever it may unfold. It’s a bittersweet transition. As a parent, you want to send your children into the world with a driving force, independence, knowledge, confidence and courage. I trust that I have instilled these values in them. My sole wish is that their journeys are filled with stories and adventures, with an occasional drive-thru to the unknown.

As for me? I’ll be taking a back seat and observing what happens at the end of the journey, hoping that all roads lead to success with a few potholes to keep it real.

Life’s like a road that you travel on
When there’s one day here and the next day gone
Sometimes you bend, sometimes you stand
Sometimes you turn your back to the wind
There’s a world outside every darkened door
Where blues won’t haunt you anymore
Where the brave are free and lovers soar
Come ride with me to the distant shore
We won’t hesitate, break down the garden gate
There’s not much time left today

Tom Cochran

The comments +

  1. I’m in a similar position with my three boys. My oldest just left for school a month ago and my middle one leaves in August – both locations are plane rides away, so no quick surprise visits to be expected anytime soon LOL
    Then there is my youngest, in seventh grade, still my baby but growing up too fast. With all of the changes happening around us, I’m not sure if he thinks he’s won the lottery or the booby prize yet, only time will tell.

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