The twins' best friend, the boy who I call my 4th son, recently got his driver's license.
He came over very pumped because his step dad had let him drive his truck. The boys all wanted to go "riding around". I said that would be fine. I watched them excitedly climb into the truck and thought how much easier this gets, as a parent. When my first son got to be this age I think my soul physically left my body to follow him. I could feel it. I was so worried and conscious of his being "gone", "out there alone".....what if something happened? What if he needed me and I wasn't there? What if I wasn't even thinking of him and therefore missed the psychic warnings all mother's can receive? I went through hell, but had only myself to blame. I don't know why I worried so much, certainly no because my oldest son warranted it. I think all mother's do it, at least with the first one. We can't help it. That's just the way it is.
I smiled, sighed, and felt no worry what-so-ever, thinking how much easier this was now, and went in the house to find my book.
Five minutes later the boys were back, looking dejected.
"What's the matter boys?" I asked.
Fourth son replied "Well, we wanted to go to McDonald's, but there isn't enough gas in the truck and I'm afraid we'll run it out of gas."
They all looked very sad.
"Hmm. Well, you want to take my car?" I asked. Their faces all lit up, and my own son's eyes got big.
"You would let us do that???" My youngest baby said, incredulously. I thought how sad it was to see my own children be so surprised that I would offer this. I thought about how I wanted to change that. It's like I got on a certain track, with 4 children, where all the rules were written in stone and now I only had 2 left at home. My last two, who would never dream that their mean mom would let them take the car. It broke my heart, and I really don't expect anyone who is not a mother to understand that. I can't explain it any better either. Maybe it's time to let that "everything equal" thing slide a little. Yes. It felt like time. It felt right, and it was really such a small thing.
"Well, yeah! You've got your license, don't you?" I said.
They all jumped up, in joy, I do believe, and then Fourth son asked "How much gas do you have in your car"? How quickly they learn, I thought, and couldn't help but laugh. It was a great question, and he had already learned to look ahead and make sure he was prepared.
I laughed and said "Plenty! And don't worry, I'm fully insured. Be careful, but don't worry."
"I got insurance on me too, Melinda!" Fourth son exclaimed, on his way to the car with the keys in his hand. He has always been like a little old man. Of all the boy's friends, it was always him that would just sit down and start talking to you like an equal. He is very polite and very open, not intimidated like so many adolescents are. The first time I ever asked him what kind of bike I should get for the boys he sat down and told me what kind and why, and reminded me of my grandfather talking about Chevrolet cars. We've been friends ever since!
They all thanked me and climbed into the car.
There followed a period of adjusting seats, rolling down windows, and most importantly of all, radio selection. They were very excited. I think they were seeing their future's rolling out before their eyes, just like I was while I watched them. My babies are taking the car, and I am not having a heart attack, I thought. It was surreal, but I knew it was really happening.
I watched them as they carefully pulled out, all the windows down, every boy with one arm out their respective windows. The car picked up speed, but not too much, and the volume came up, but not too much, and away they went. Just 3 young men out on the town, seeing what's up and who's out and about.
I thought again how much easier this has gotten. This time I'm ready. The first time it sent me into panic and tears. I tried very hard to hold those years back, to somehow make time stand still. I failed at that, and did a lot of kicking and screaming and protesting, to no avail.
Now I have given up fights I can't win and learned to go with the flow. I don't expect it to ever be pain free, but it does get easier. Practice always makes perfect, if you do it enough. Letting go can be just as hard as holding on, it's all in the timing. I think I've finally got it down.