I know you don’t know me.
In fact you were driving so fast I doubt you even saw me fly out of my front door trying desperately to catch a glimpse of your license plate so that I could call the police.
Yep. I’m that person.
I grew up. Got old. Became a parent. And now I’m out to destroy all of your fun.
Because here’s the thing. Your sort of fun? It gives me nightmares.
I was shaking as I watched you tear recklessly down my street with no regard for your own life, let alone the life of anyone else.
Let me tell you something I doubt you ever considered. Lean in and listen real close.
While you were taking a joy ride through suburbia, there was a three year old on a tricycle and a five year old close to outgrowing his training wheels, riding down the street.
I heard your souped up engine revving. I knew how fast you were going before I sprinted to my front door. I saw your used Pontiac for a split second. I heard your unnecessarily loud bass. And I caught a glimpse of you and your buddies having the time of your life.
You didn’t have a care in the world.
Can I ask you a question?
How would your world have changed if my five year old son, his name is Ezra by the way, had ridden off the curb? What could you have possibly done if my three year old, his name is Hudson but I call him Tiny, had disobeyed his daddy (as he sometimes does. I mean he is three after all.) and darted into the street?
You would not have been able to stop.
My world would have shattered because you thought you were invincible.
Let that sink in for a minute.
I was seventeen once. I get it. I know it feels like nothing can stop you. But that’s a load of crap.
Every single choice you make has a consequence. That freedom of choice is one of the most incredible and beautiful and terrifying gifts in this life.
Your choices determine your future.
Your choice tonight could have ended someone else’s future. And your own.
I know I said I wanted to call the police on you. And part of me still does. But if I was given the option I think I would make a different call.
I would call your mama.
Because even though you managed to piss me off in two seconds flat, once I knew my babies were safe, I had a thought.
You are somebody’s baby too.
Every single kid in that car is loved by someone, probably lots of someones, and if I were your mama or your aunt or your grandma or your fifth grade teacher, I would want to know you were being an idiot.
So I could slap some sense into you. (Not actually slap. Relax. It’s a figure of speech.)
I know you feel a freedom in being a teenager, probably almost legally an adult. But it’s only fair that you know the truth. It doesn’t matter if you are 18 or 21 or 45 or 73. You don’t ever get to stop being somebody’s baby.
Ezra and Hudson will never stop being my babies.
And tonight you helped me realize something. As they get older, become teenagers, start driving and dating and owning smart phones. As they search the world just to find themselves. I do not want to be the cool mom.
I always thought I would be the cool mom, but I just realized how desperately I don’t ever want to be her.
I want to be the mom who makes sure parents are home before my kids go to a friend’s house.
I want to be the mom who asks nosy questions and makes her sons talk to her.
I want to be the mom who holds her boys to the highest standards when it comes to how they treat women.
I want to be the mom who takes away driving privileges if I find out my kids are speeding through neighborhoods.
I want to be the mom who is aware of what my kids are doing online.
I want to be the mom who doesn’t look the other way when her kids act the way society says kids will act.
And if all of that makes me the least cool mom ever? That is fantastic.
Because I know that my boys were created to be amazing men and it is the greatest privilege in my life to be able to guide them on that journey.
And you, dear speeding driver, I believe that for you too. I don’t know you. Or your story. Or who is championing you along the way. My prayer tonight is that someone is. And my guess is that if I were to call your mama or your daddy, and tell them how reckless you were tonight, that you wouldn’t see your beloved Pontiac for quite some time.
See as parents, no matter what the media says or how they try to pit us against each other by talking about parenting styles and discipline tactics and organic vs non organic food, the truth is that we all know parenting is the single hardest job one could ever take on and we need each other.
I hope when my kids do something stupid (as they inevitably will) another parent loves them enough and respects me enough to call me. And I will do the same for them. Because it takes a village. A really freaking big village.
I don’t think you’re a bad kid. I think it’s quite possible you’re a wonderful, funny, intelligent, compassionate kid. You would probably call me ma’am if we ever met and I would tell you never to call me that again. It’s one of the things I like least about the south.
But tonight? Tonight you made a bad choice.
I am so thankful that for today the worst thing that happened is you left skid marks on my street.
But what about next time?
I’m crossing my fingers that there isn’t a next time, but make no mistake. If you speed down my street again I will jump in my minivan and I will follow you to your house. I will knock on your door.
And I will tell your mama everything that happened.
Because every mama deserves the chance to keep her baby safe.
Safe from others. Safe from themselves. Safe.
We can’t protect you from everything. But we spend every single day trying our very best to do just that.
Help us out, won’t you?
The owner of the voice you heard screaming at you from blocks away and the mama of these two babies.