Turning 16: You Don’t Get a Car, Just a Lesson in Life’s Irony

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Tomorrow is my daughter’s 16th birthday.  Her one request is to get a car and my response is always the same, “That is not going to happen.”

To her credit, she is a great child who works hard, excels in school, and takes part in sports and other activities.  Other than the occasional rolling of the eyes when I speak to her and the inability to understand that the clean laundry that I put in her room needs to be put away without me asking a zillion times, she really is a joy to raise.

She has tried very hard to persuade me to get her a car using some of the following arguments:

“Just think Mom, if I have a car I can take some of the load off of you by driving the kids around.”

“Mom, think about how you won’t have to drive half-way across town every day to pick me up from school.”

“If I had a car I would go to the grocery store for you and run all your errands for you so that you could relax.”

“Please Mom, if you get me a car I promise I will not only put my laundry away everyday but I will do all the chores you need me to do around the house.”

While some of those are valid, I have some thoughts of my own about getting her a car:

My own gas bill is so high that some days I think I could become a huge fan of riding bikes.  We could be like the Von Trapp family in ‘Sound of Music’, riding down the street on our bikes in matching clothes singing.  There is literally no way that I can afford to pay the gas bill for two cars.  I would be comfortable with her driving the little ones Barbie Jeep to school since it uses a battery, but I think she might feel a little silly driving down Capital Circle in it.

I did call to check on the insurance for her.  I actually got a little testy with the woman on the phone when she told me the amount it would cost to insure her.  I told her that my daughter is an honor roll student and asked if she could get a discount for that.  The woman said “no.”  I asked her if I could get a discount since I am a single mom.  The woman said “no.”  Finally, I just asked her if she could just cut me some sort of a deal for just being a nice person.  She chuckled and said “sorry, but no.”  I am so used to seeing that lady on the Progressive car insurance commercial who is always yelling “DISCOUNT” to people when they ask something.

Finally, there is the basic issue that in order to purchase a car you have to have the money to do so.  I told my daughter that I could get her a car, but then we would have to live in it.  Her car would have to be an RV since the rest of us would be calling it home, and I don’t think that driving an RV into the school parking lot with your siblings hanging out of it will get her any cool points.

As much as I want to give my children everything in the world, giving a car to my daughter for her 16th birthday is not going to happen.  She understands that and seems to have come to some acceptance of it.  But sometimes life can have a sense of humor.

Yesterday afternoon, I heard a lot of commotion outside in front of the house.  When I saw the reason for the noise, I thought it was joke.  As my daughter and the rest of the kids came outside to see what was going on, they had these stunned looks on their faces.  There, outside of our house, was a huge semi-truck carrying eight new cars on it. 

My daughter gave me a look, and I panicked thinking she was going to think that one of these was for her!  I looked at her and shook my head laughing.  “I love you baby, but I swear this is not bringing you a car.”  Of all of the things to break down in front of our house and of all of the times it could happen, why now?  This will be one of those moments we will laugh about in the years to come, the moment we were reminded that life has a sense of humor and we need to be sure and hold on to ours!

For even more of my adventures trying to raise a family while still keeping a sense of humor, visit TLHmoms.com. Follow me on Twitter @TLHmoms and like us on Facebook at Facebook.com/TLHmoms.

You can email your thoughts, ideas and funny moments at blythe@tallahassee.com.

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