31 January 2005

Single...With Children: Between Visits With Dad, Litle Boy Evolving Into Young Man

Single with Children; Son will give his Dad a weekend to remember

By Susie Parker
Publication Date: 08/27/03

The other evening my former husband called and said he would be flying in to take off with Justin for the weekend. He wondered if Justin could pick him up at the airport.

"Sure, absolutely! I bet he would love to do that."

I had to suppress a giggle.

First of all, Justin's dad hasn't seen the car he bought to replace the car he totaled, courtesy of a very generous check from our insurance company, though believe me, I'm paying for it with the increased price of his policy - a male driver, under the age of 21, you do the math. I did the math and seriously had to skip dinner that first evening!

But back to the replacement car. This car is two years younger than the one that was pronounced totaled. The mileage is lower and, unlike the first one, this car has a manual transmission. The clutch doesn't even smoke at all now that he's gotten the hang of shifting gears.

Justin was never able to get the subwoofers he bought from his friend to work properly in the first Mustang.

I'm sad to report that they work perfectly in this one, and by that I mean that I can hear Justin entering our neighborhood blocks away. Oh, and did I mention the dual exhaust? He says it's clearly an improvement over what he used to have. I rather doubt our neighbors would agree.

So tomorrow night, when our young man arrives at baggage claim to pick up his father after what he thinks is a very long flight, I dare say it will not even compare to the 20-minute drive from the airport to his hotel.

I considered calling and mentioning what he can expect tomorrow night when he climbs into the tiny space that is a Mustang, but Justin wants to "surprise" his dad. I quickly recalled that his dad has a fairly serious case of hypertension and is on medication to control it. I hope he doesn't forget to take his medicine tomorrow.

I have this sneaking suspicion that he's going to need it. He also used to travel with ear plugs because the noise on airplanes tended to give him a headache. I hope he's bringing them.

Father and son will be spending the weekend at a beach community about an hour's drive from our home. I don't think I have to tell you who will be driving and who will be hanging on for dear life! When they return Sunday evening, I'll be eager to hear a full account of how the weekend went. If my former husband is looking forward to a relaxing, calm weekend by the ocean, I'm afraid this isn't going to be what he had in mind. I'll be able to gauge how things went if they are still speaking. Tim's not a white-knuckled flyer, but I have a feeling he's about to become a white-knuckled car passenger in about 24 hours.

Seriously, this will be an eye-opening (think eye popping) experience for his father, and I don't mean that in a necessarily negative way.

I have a feeling Justin's dad will see his son in a very new light. Justin always has flown to spend time with him. The last time his dad was the one making the visit was pre-driver's license. Justin is a very cautious and conscientious driver and I'm proud of his respect for the privilege of driving.

Having said that, he's also nearly 17 years old, and what teenager is not going to want to impress his father with his newfound skills at having learned to transition from an automatic to a stick shift?

It's only natural and I think his dad will come to appreciate this, once his vitals return to normal and he's safely settled into his seat on the return flight home.

If nothing else, he's got to be impressed with how immaculate Justin keeps his car. I still wonder why that doesn't translate to bedrooms as well?

I'll keep you posted on how it went.

Readers can e-mail Susie Parker at Susiewrites@gmail.com or write to her c/o Amarillo Globe-News, Features Dept., P.O. Box 2091, Amarillo, TX 79166.

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