Most every step in raising children has two separate reactions from the parents: Pardonable Pride and Total Insanity. It just seems to go with the territory.
Your child starts to walk. How great is this? You are bursting with pride. But – ACK! You also run around the house like a frantic labrador retriever, taking heavy items off of tabletops, fitting every outlet with a protective device, putting gates where the exploring toddler could escape or crash down the stairs.
Your child starts to talk. How great is this? You are bursting with pride. But – HOLY HECK! Suddenly, you watch what you say. You whisper strategies with your spouse. You stop saying the A-word, the B-word, and so on down the line. The little genius is a potential government spy. You know this fully. You don’t need proof.
Your child starts school. How great is this? You are bursting with pride – but wait just a minute! You feel you have just released a young lion back into the wild. Anything could happen. They will be socialized by every maniac they encounter! This is not good – not good at all!
Your child starts to play sports … or sing in a choir … joins the cub scouts. Every step is a potential disaster waiting to happen. This was supposed to be fun. But now you have a medical team, an insurance company, a lawyer and a religious leader all on retainer. And your kid is only six.
But, remember that old saying: All things have a purpose? That’s right, all these early triumphs that scare you silly are just training for The Big One. No – Much Bigger. Really Huge.
Here it is:
Your child starts to drive the car. How great is this? You are bursting with pride, but then you check yourself into the local mental health ward just to process this on your own terms.
Essentially, when I was asked what it costs parents when a child learns to drive, I had one immediate reaction:
Sanity. It costs them their sanity.
How do I know this? I have three teenagers pretty close in age. Guess how many are taking driving lessons as we speak. That’s right – all three.
I would love it if this only cost money, but it doesn’t: it also costs time. Insuring three new drivers isn’t exactly cheap. Even simply adding them to my existing coverage is going to cost a ton. This is because, according to AcceptanceInsurance.com, “A driver’s young age and lack of driving experience tend to influence the rates and options that are available” That means I need to take the time to make sure that I’m finding the best and safest deal. Why?
Well, it all boils down to this: do I have the money? What? Nobody has the money. Every budget is maxed out. There is no trust fund set up to help my kids turn my hair gray overnight and send me to the psych unit. I missed that one. But the money can be found – just as the money was found for voice lessons, piano lessons, guitar lessons, indoor soccer, archery, Little League, book sales, clothing and whatever else comes with the territory.
What they give you is pride. What they take away is sanity. It seems a small price to pay. If I was sane, more likely than not, I wouldn’t have had kids in the first place.