Remember that first cab ride you ever took? Was it because you had too much to drink and decided for the first time ever to navigate your way through:
1. Finding the name of a cab.
2. Finding the phone number for a cab
3. Calling the cab
4. Waiting 20-30 minutes for them to arrive
5. Borrowing money from friends because you didn’t have cash
6. Climbing into the back of said cab when it finally arrives and directing it to your home
Not. So. Much. You know why? Because it doesn’t occur to us in our early 20s or (not me of course, but I’ve heard SOME people drink before their 21st birthday) late teens to take a cab for those very reasons. I mean, when our microwave broke my teens didn’t eat breakfast or lunch for two days. True. Story. Figuring out a cab process? *insert hysterical laughter*
The other night I had just poured a glass of wine when my son called to tell me his ride home from the party had bailed on him and I would need to come and get him at 10:00 p.m. This posed a problem for me. I was REALLY looking forward to drinking that glass of wine and then pouring a second glass and I did NOT want to go pick his “I suck at planning rides” butt up. Then? I had a thought.
“Is sending a cab to pick up your teenage son from a party a bad idea?”
Then? I had a second thought.
“It’s a BRILLIANT idea. If you don’t mind every parent in the community discussing your need to visit Betty Ford.”
So I put down the wine and dutifully went to pick my kid up from the party. But? As I was driving it occurred to me that it wasn’t such a bad idea to send a cab. Not because I wanted to drink, but because someday he will. Someday real soon his brother will be in college and shortly after so will he and I want them to take a cab when they drink.
Someday a little later than soon, but not so far off, they will be in their 20s and hitting the bars and parties. And? I will want them to take a cab. What are the odds they would do something like that if it was a completely foreign idea? Not high. They can’t even navigate a damn clothes hamper. The one in their room. With no lid. Just a cavernous open space begging for clothes to come in and play. The one that sits two inches from the pile of dirty clothes on their floor.
But? What if they were comfortable in cabs? What if they were programmed to seek out cab companies in every city and add it to their phones? What if their first thought was, “I’m going to drink tonight, I better take a cab.” It certainly wasn’t mine in my 20s. I just got lucky. Far too often. It never even OCCURRED to me to take a cab. That was something people in big cities and people on vacation did.
My husband and I take cabs ALL. THE. TIME. We show them by example. Now? It’s time to teach them how to do it themselves.
This week’s practical parenting tip: Cab train your teens.
So. If you see my teenage boys buzzing around town in a pretty yellow cab, it’s not because I am a lush who has had too much to drink.* It’s because they are being Cab Trained.
*Some of most of the time.
Update: Both of my sons have been picked up from a party in a cab since this was posted. It was a great lesson for both and I will continue to do it.