Wednesday, April 27, 2022

A Light at the End of the Carpool, Part Two

When Son Number One was born, we had to quickly master the baby blanket swaddle wrap. Confining his arms and legs in a blankie, like an eleven-pound Chipotle burrito, was the only way to shut him up at bedtime. It worked like a charm.

A little over sixteen years ago, when Son Number Two was born, our swaddle game was at its peak. I burrito-wrapped him like a pro in the hospital on his very first day.

He cried.

Then, unfortunately, he kept crying. Soon, my wife was crying.

After somewhere between eighteen and twenty-four hours of crying, I was about to cry. I went to his bassinet to do the only thing I knew to do – re-wrap the burrito boy. When I pulled the top locking blankie fold loose, his little arms and legs all went “fwump” down onto the mattress, and he fell instantly asleep – completely unwrapped.

That was the moment that my wife and I came to the horrifying realization that our boys would not be exactly the same.

Neither of us really remember what Son Number Three preferred. Those years are just one big hazy, sleep-deprived fog, with my most consistent memory being Shop-Vac’ing Cheerios and goldfish cracker dust out of car seat crevices.

While all three of our sons being very different creatures has presented many, many challenges over the years, one recent bright spot is the driver’s license situation.

Son Number One didn’t seem to care about getting his license at all. Thankfully for everything except our insurance premiums, he finally became a legal driver a few months before turning seventeen, and takes himself where he needs to be.

Son Number Two, not surprisingly, is taking a different approach. He is on what I would call the more traditional driver’s license timing path. He’s still acting like a psycho and didn’t schedule his test on his sixteenth birthday, but his test in this coming Monday, so he’s at least within a couple weeks of the date.

Assuming – and finger’s crossed – everything goes well on Monday, we will have two teenage drivers. Army generals and insurance companies have known for centuries that the teenage boy is the most reckless and wild animal on the planet, scoring just in front of the honey badger and the Tasmanian devil.

When Number One was learning to drive, we were told to just expect our insurance premium to double when he got his license, and that’s pretty much what happened. I’ve done zero research and asked zero questions about what happens to the premium when you add a second honey badger to the plan. I don’t want to know.

I don’t care at this point, because money doesn’t matter right now when balanced against carpool. I’ve never been freed from a long imprisonment in a POW camp, but I would imagine it’s a very similar feeling to being freed from carpool.

I am currently in the middle of the second-to-last carpool week of my life, and I am giddy. Son Number Two getting his license is a big part of that. With all three boys at the same high school next year, and two of them driving, there is a very good chance that Son Number Three will have a ride to and from whatever school or sports activity he’s involved in, nearly every single time.

Again, it's hard for me to express the joy I feel when I think of never driving carpool again, but to try to put it into monetary terms, it’s totally worth whatever multiple-Tasmanian devil insurance bill is coming my way on Monday afternoon.

See you soon,



Copyright © 2022 Marc Schmatjen


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