Like Mother, Like Son? Mother’s Day Musings from a Car-Loving Mom
“I really like that new Mustang,” my 12-year-old said to me the other day while we were driving home from school. “Oh, really?” I replied in surprise. “Yeah,” he said, pointing to one near us on the road, “It looks really powerful, and they did a good job keeping the essence of the old one.”
That really came out of left field; he had his face in his iPad, and I had no idea he was paying attention to the cars around us. We enjoyed a short conversation then, discussing the finer points of the new Mustang’s design, right down to the blinking patterns of the taillights, and how he liked the new bold face of Ford. And yes, he actually said all that.
I suppose it stands to reason that the children of a car girl would be paying attention to cars, too. Both of my boys could identify the badges on the cars they saw at an early age (it was a game we played while driving), and both of them enjoyed throwing my shiftknob into gear from their position as passenger-seat co-pilot. (The difference is the younger one says he is actually looking forward to learning how to drive a manual transmission, where his older brother, now 21, says he has avoided learning the skill because he doesn’t want to be the designated driver when his mother has a few glasses of wine at family functions.)
Boy Number Two has spent plenty of time in traffic telling me how much he wants a Mini Cooper when he buys his first car. (Though he knows, in reality, his first car will be my Fiesta, which will be handed down to him, someday, when I finally am able to buy the convertible roadster I have coveted since I was a teenager.) He especially likes the looks of the latest Jaguars, and certainly notices when we see one of the many Teslas that prowl the roads in our neighborhood. He’s also quick to point out when he sees something unusual, like the retro-looking Chevy SSR pickup we saw in a parking lot the other day. While I’d like to believe he got his interest in cars from me, I think he’s probably learned more about racecars and exotic sports cars from the video games he plays on his Xbox. However, whenever I’m driving loan vehicles from the press fleet, he helps out with my review process, exploring their nooks and crannies, examining how their seats flip and fold, and evaluating their rear-seat legroom. Wherever he learned it, he’s turning into quite the little auto aficionado!
When he got his driver’s license, I bought my Fiesta and Boy Number One inherited the family car. I would have thought he’d be embarrassed to drive the beat-up Odyssey, but he told me recently he appreciated that the police didn’t really pay much attention to it when he was speeding (yeah, I guess it runs in the family), and he liked that it was large enough for him to haul around his fraternity brothers and their party gear. Plus, with pillows and a blanket in the wayback, the minivan was always conveniently ready for a nap, no matter where he happened to be hanging out. Now more than 12 years old, the “Oddity” (as we called it) has 171,000 miles on its odometer, and is heading for resale; Boy Number One is about to inherit his Dad’s Accord when Dad buys his fifth Honda in the next couple months.
With Mother’s Day approaching this weekend, I have a sentimental reason to reflect on the car conversations I’ve had with my two young men. One is now officially an adult, and the other one is teetering over the precipice of puberty.
Let’s hope for many more car conversations in the years to come!