I stepped out of the ladies room at the college student union and the small knot of men waiting across the hall near the bulletin boards turned.
“Reggie,” my husband simultaneously motioned me over while poking our second son in the ribs, “come here. He has something to show you.”
The knot of men parted. Silently my son pointed to a paper tacked to the bulletin board. I didn’t need to read past the words For Sale. The picture said it all.
The knot of men erupted in laughter.
“But…” my son began.
“No!” I said again and turned on my heel, leaving the laughing men behind.
We’d had this discussion regularly since my son turned fourteen. He wanted a motorcycle. I was adamant: “You can have a motorcycle when I’m dead!”
My husband, who’d reluctantly sold the motorcycle he’d wooed me on in college only after this second son was born, would occasionally risk my wrath by taking our child’s side. He’d quickly back off again. I’m normally a mild-mannered person, but when it came to the idea of my child straddling one of those organ-donor-makers I was immovable.
Unfortunately for me, my son was turning eighteen in a few weeks and because he’d been mowing lawns all over town for years he had financial resources. Our discussions about transportation had taken a worrisome turn lately. They’d gotten suspiciously short. He no longer pleaded his case. He simply stated his desire and when I said no gave me that look I’ve become so familiar with after twenty-something years of marriage to his father. Quiet determination. I knew it was only a matter of time. One day soon, after he turned eighteen, he’d go to the bank and come home on a motorcycle.
And so I did what mothers have done for centuries when faced with the coming independence of a man-child and the inevitable loss of motherly authority. I lay awake at night…and plotted against him. (Bad Mommy!)
Motorcycles are symbols of freedom. They’re powerful, sexy, cool…and dangerous. What other form of transportation, I asked myself, embodied those same things? The answer was obvious: a convertible.
At first I resisted. I wanted a different answer. A convertible just wasn’t the armor-plated tank of safety I wanted my child driving. But at least, unlike a motorcycle, it had sides. So finally, reluctantly, after much fretting, I knew what I had to do.
I spoke to my husband. My husband spoke to our son’s godfather, Uncle Cam – one of the most generous men I know. Then my husband spoke to my son. My son called his Uncle Cam. Now Uncle Cam has a sleek new convertible in his garage and my son has his Uncle Cam’s old one.
Well, almost. If I could just get my son to wear a helmet…
Do you ever plot against your child – for their own good of course? Share your stories and comments by clicking on the number near the title of this post.