I lost my independence a year ago. I sort of realized it at the time, but I didn’t know how deeply it would affect me until yesterday.
Last year, my son started his senior year of high school. As a senior, they were allowed to purchase a parking space close to the school and paint it any way they wanted to (as long as it conformed to school rules). When I was in high school, they didn’t have anything like this, and I didn’t get to drive to school. I wanted to make sure that my son could.
The deal we made was that I would get to drive the car once or twice a week. “Of course we’ll share the car, Mom,” he told me. Silly me, I believed him!
Over the past year, I’ve rarely driven it. I had this car ten years before he started driving. I could come and go as I pleased, without having to ask someone if it was okay to use the car. Suddenly, I was dealing with a teenager who, once he got his hands on the car, wasn’t about to relinquish control.
I did manage to drive it on the weekends; I did have to feed the family, after all, so trips to the store were an evil necessity. But the looks I got from my son when I asked for the keys were those of annoyance. And as the school year went by, it became more “his car” and less “my car”. Radio stations set to heavy metal and country (Lord help me!), black car seat covers with skulls on them (although now he has moved on to camouflage), his senior tassel and fuzzy dice hanging from the rear view mirror.
After graduation, he found a job and the talk turned to him finding a truck. “You can have the car back, Mom.” Oh sure, give it back after he’s dented the hood, blown out the speakers, and scrapped paint off the left rear bumper! But we couldn’t find anything for him. I realized the other day we were going about this wrong. “Why don’t we try to find something for me?” I suggested to my husband and son.
“Go for it!” they said, although I was pretty sure they didn’t think I’d have much luck.
It took me only three days to find what I wanted: a 2001, 2 door silver grey Ford Explorer. I brought it home yesterday. As I sat here eating supper at 7:15, I thought “I need to take those bookmarks Larissa Reinhart (author of Hijack in Abstract) to the library.” I jumped in the Explorer and took off. I didn’t have to ask anyone for the keys so I could go. I just went. I even took the long way home, just enjoying the drive.
When I got home, my husband was here. He could tell I was very happy. He smiled and said, “I’m glad you got your independence back.”
It was at that moment that I realized what I had been missing for over a year. I didn’t feel depressed. This big weight that I had been carrying around, that I hadn’t completely understood was gone.