My son had his first blow out last week. He is only seventeen. I am in my forties and have never had a blow out. I have night mares about having my tire end up in a mangled piece of rubber on the highway. I always imagine hearing a loud bang and having my car careen sharply into oncoming traffic. Needless to say, when my son sent me the picture of the destroyed tire and the words, “What do I do now?” I had to fight the urge to panic. Common sense told me that if he had the mental capability to not only take a picture of the tire but attach correctly spelled words, he was okay. He had been driving on a back road with little to no traffic, at a somewhat slow speed, and it just did a “soft blow.” Thank heavens for small miracles.
As I have dealt with the flat this week, and believe it or not it has taken a week, I have come to realize that not only did we have a flat tire but I have also fallen ‘flat’ in some areas of teaching my children. I have three driving age children at home, 20, 18, and 17, and not one of them has a clue what to do with a car when it stops running. The extend of their ‘auto knowledge’ is to put gas in it when it runs out and change the oil when the number gets close to the sticker number. I have been setting myself up for trouble for years!
When I was a teenager, my dad took me into the garage and showed me not only how to change a tire, but also how to check and change the oil. I have a vague memory of him showing me fuses and spark plugs, but I only remember the gas, oil and tires now. I can honestly saw that I am grateful for his teachings and have used them on more than one occassion.
When I was a new mom, still riding high on hormones and extra belly fluff, I got a flat tire in a grocery store parking lot. I remember looking around helplessly for about four seconds before I put baby in the car and set to work changing my own tire. I’ve never been one to not be able to deal with things that came along. Looking back, maybe I owe that to my parents for teaching me how to be self reliant.
I really wonder what my son would have done if he had not been able to text me when he had his blow out. Would he have parked the car by the side of the road and walked home, or on to where he was going? Would he have had the ability to get the spare out of the trunk and change the tire?
I’m afraid I bail my kids out way too often. It is hard not to. I love them with every fiber of my being. I don’t want them to hurt or be lost or afraid or sad or anything negative. At the same time, I realize, if they don’t feel any of those emotions they will never grow to be understanding, functioning adults. It is a bitter sweet thing, this motherhood gig.
Since the blow out incident, I have been taking a closer look at how I ‘parent.’ I’ve never considered myself to be over protective or hovering, but maybe I have forgotten the other non-desireable title of negligent parent. It isn’t that I haven’t doted on my kids and spent time with them whenever I can, its more of a neglect to teach them how to be self reliant.
It seems to me that no matter how much I love my kids, I don’t want the to live with me forever because they can’t function on their own.
It’s time for me to step it up and open up the school of DIY at home. We may not be building bookcases out of solidified marshmallows, but my kids do need to learn how to take care of some things. Sounds like a good way to spend our fall break….cause I said so.
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