We did not run out and buy him a new car. Rather, the old minivan that we bought when I was pregnant with him, is his for the using. It runs just fine, and being a tank with crumple zones and air bags, it’s as safe as it is going to get. I don’t care or, realistically, would not notice if he scratched it or dinged it in some way. It has five doors, including the back hatch, and two of them still open without use of a screwdriver. Only one outside door handle is held on with black duct tape. He finds the thing embarrassing, but is smart enough not to complain too loudly about it because it is a car he didn’t have to pay for.
But, of course, he is paying for it, just not in cash. The deal we made was that I provide him with a vehicle and insurance and the occasional tank of gas, and in exchange he does my bidding. He drives his sister all over creation. He runs to get milk or whatever missing ingredient I need ASAP. He doesn’t wake me up when he has to be somewhere early, which is most Saturday mornings.
Don’t get me wrong. I do worry about him. Not as much as I thought I would, but I do worry. The good thing is that he’s a rules kid. If the speed limit is 45, then by gosh and by golly he’s not going 46 miles per hour. He actually counts to three at stop signs. I’m not terribly worried about him doing something stupid and risky, I’m just worried about every other idiot on the road doing something stupid and risky that might injure my boy and/or cost me a good bit of time and money.
Technology helps. If you haven’t heard of Life360, let me tell you about this little miracle app. When you link with someone on your phone, you can look at the app and it will tell you where they are. It will tell you what route they took and tell you the highest speed they went. It will link with Google Maps and give you directions to where they are. It reminds me mostly of that clock that Molly Weasley had in Harry Potter that has a hand for each Weasley with a face on it, and tells you where they are and when they’ll be home. If you pay money for the app (all that previous stuff is FREE!) it will tell you whether or not they braked hard or used their cell phones while they were driving.
No, the Life360 people are NOT paying me for this endorsement, though if they decided to reward me retrospectively, I would totally let them.
I realized that it is the unknown that is worrisome and scary. If I worry about my sweet boy, I can look at the app and see his face travelling along the road, and I know he is not dead in a ditch somewhere. I have to wonder how my parents could stand it. Back in the days before cell phones, it was harder to call 911, and they certainly couldn’t track my whereabouts.
Of course, the app only tells you where their phones are, not where they are, but we all know good and well that every person under the age of, say, 25, would sooner give up a lung than be separated from their phones for more than 15 minutes.
So it’s a game changer, Jacob driving. Now that I don’t have to drive him places, and sit in the back waiting for him to be finished, and then drive back, making the inevitable stop along the way for coffee or snacks, I realize how much time I actually spent doing that. Now, I can be home long enough to wash, dry, and fold a load of laundry all in one shot. I have cooked some actual meals. My house is still a wreck, but at least you can walk from one end to the other without tripping on too much.
Yup, it’s a game changer all right. And I am liking these new rules.
If you enjoyed this and want to read more like it, visit Lori at her website, www.loriduffwrites.com , on Twitter, or on Facebook. Lori is the Readers Favorite and eLit award winner for her latest release, “You Know I Love You Because You’re Still Alive.” She is also the author of the bestselling books “Mismatched Shoes and Upside Down Pizza,” and “The Armadillo, the Pickaxe, and the Laundry Basket.”