Be Careful What You Ask For

Posted February 17, 2012 by jimhigley

February 17, 1996

My youngest son turns 16 today. And suddenly, the one thing I’ve long dreamed of is here. And I’m not sure how I feel about it.


Today I bid farewell to all the friends I’ve made over the years in the carpool lane. My youngest son is officially 16.

This day is really not about a kid getting his driver’s license (sorry son). It’s actually about being a parent who is no longer tethered. To everything. That nirvana-moment we all dream about when we don’t have to plan the comings-and-goings of our entire day around the comings-and-goings of our kids.

I’ve spent hundreds and hundreds – actually thousands – of hours racing the streets to be sure I’m at school for pick-up precisely at 3:02. Which was then changed to 2:58. Except for early releases which are 1:10.

I’ve made way too many early morning drop-offs in a bathrobe.

I plan my errands around practices. Or lessons.

I throw loads of laundry in the dryer thinking to myself how perfectly ready for folding the clothes will be when I get home from running kids around.

I keep a pile of business reading in a special pile so I have something to peruse while I’m waiting in parking lots by the school, baseball field, or driveways of my kids’ friends.

I’d gained nearly all of my pop culture knowledge sitting in the car. Listening to the radio.

For years, I’ve told myself  that I couldn’t wait to be done with this part of my life. Living days in a car isn’t a walk in the park. I’ve had days ruined by other parents who don’t follow proper carpool lane protocol. Screwing up all of us who obediently follow the rules.

And I’ve had my run in with one too many traffic Nazi’s. Guards who insist that every part of my existence – provided I’m on school property – is under his (or her) control.

It’s been the bane of my existence.

But today – after 22+ years of dadhood – I can officially remove a task off of my Dad Job Description:


I got what I asked for.

And, today, for the first time in years – I have no idea what I’m doing at 2:58.