I am moving my family to Manhattan.
Not because I actually want to live there and not because my husband and I have jobs there – no, I’ve just decided that the streets and subways in New York City are probably safer forms of transportation than allowing my 16-year-old to drive.
Yes, my oldest turned 16 today. He is now officially eligible to drive—alone.
I have spent so much time worrying about all of the dangerous things that could happen to him as he was growing up (Choking hazards! Bullies! Stranger danger!), but nothing is more frightening than letting your child operate a 4000 pound-death machine.
I knew this day was coming – obviously, I know how old my kid is—but I ignored the rapidly approaching milestone even as I maintained a death grip on the door handle while he practiced his driving. And as I repeatedly stomped the imaginary brake on my side of the car and prayed that he was actually paying attention to the approaching back end of the car in front of us I would think, “At least I’m here to talk him through this.”
Did I really think he was going to take me everywhere with him after he got his license? Of course not, but a mom can dream, can’t she?
I remember how stupid I was at 16. I got pulled over by a cop within days of getting my license because I had 8 people piled onto the back end of a convertible. Apparently the police frown on that kind of thing. We thought it made perfect sense. We needed to get 10 people to a party and the only way we would all fit is if I put the top down and some people sat on the back end of the car. Genius!
The scary thing is, I was way more mature than my kid is at this age (all evidence to the contrary). But if that’s true, what does that mean for my son?
Hence, my new plan.
Moving to Manhattan is the most logical thing to do.
Perhaps you are thinking that I could just not give him the car keys. Well, yes, I’ve also thought of that. But here is the problem: other 16-year-olds will drive him instead!
How is that better?!
At least I know that my kid is a decent driver.
I remember looking around our neighborhood when my son was 6 or 7 and seeing all of these little kids who were the same age as him. There were so many of them! Do you know what I saw? Not cute little kids at the park, but future drivers who would run stop signs, drive too fast, drink too much and quite possibly kill me. And now, they will be driving my kid!
Thankfully, due to the Illinois state law that requires kids to have their permits for 9 months before they can get a license, my son (and I) are safe for another couple of weeks.
That gives me two weeks to find a place in Manhattan and uproot my family.
The good news is that we only have to live there for about 9 years or at least until his pre-frontal cortex fully develops.
Make that 13 years, I’ve got another one driving in 4 years…