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Garin Turns Sixteen and he's Driving!

Garin turned sixteen on April 18th (yes, I am a wee bit behind in getting this posted). and he's driving! Not! But I guess my title intrigued you enough to click on it, so by all means, read on.

Perhaps he'll drive when he's 18? Or maybe when he turns 21 and wants to drive to Las Vegas and try his hand at gambling? That sounds like a really bad idea now that I see it on paper. Better yet, perhaps he'll learn when he's 65 and needs to find his way to the Social Security office to collect his check (that is if there's still any money in the Social Security coffers in 2073).

Like so many other kids of Garin's generation, he is in no hurry to drive. Garin had a few friends over for his birthday and I took an unofficial poll and found that not one of them drives yet either, nor has a definite date on the calendar to visit the DMV (well you can't exactly blame them for not wanting to embark on a lifelong relationship with the DMV). DMV aside, why don't they want to drive? What's wrong with driving other than the post-COVID epidemic of crazy drivers on the road; the abhorrent traffic conditions in southern California; the exorbitant expense of paying for a car, gas, and insurance; and not being able to claim yourself as a full-time passenger anymore? I think I just answered my question.

Anytime the subject of driving arises with a friend of mine, the conversation always goes in the same direction, "Is Garin getting his license now that he's turning 16?" No. "I don't understand kids of this generation. When I was his age, I was at the DVM the morning of my 16th birthday ready to get my license." I know. You're preaching to the choir.

Nobody I speak to seems to understand why so many kids of this generation don't care to drive or at least don't seem to be in any hurry to do so. One plausible theory I heard recently was that they don't have anywhere to go since their lives revolve around their devices (computers, phones, and tablets), leaving them little incentive to leave their homes, or rooms, for that matter. I can certainly relate to that unpleasant scenario with the sixteen-year-old who inhabits my home. Another theory I've heard is that they've grown accustomed to being chauffeured around by their overinvolved parents for their entire lives, leaving them no incentive to give up that luxury and learn to drive. I concur with that theory as well.

I am not particularly surprised nor disappointed that Garin's 16th birthday has come and gone with barely a mention of learning to drive. However, I think that's because I don't think that deep down I ever believed he would be driving at 16 and I'm not sure that's such a bad thing. To put it mildly, sixteen-year-old boys can be a tad immature, so to allow them to operate a 3-ton vehicle (that is the weight of my Yukon XL SUV) on the road is a slightly frightening thought for any parent, I would imagine. Admittedly, as a single parent of four kids and more aptly, a full-time chauffeur, having Garin drive would be an enormous help to me. Not only could he take himself to many of the places he needed to go, but he could help me shuttle the other kids around from time to time, lessening my load a little bit. A girl can dream, can't she?

Rest assured, Garin will drive, someday. Or rather, maybe he'll move to New York City or some charming European city with efficient public transportation and forgo driving altogether. I guess there could be worse fates than that.

In the meantime, I'll keep shuttling everyone around as I always have. As for Garin, well, I am happy to report that he had a relaxing, enjoyable, and fabulously DMV-free 16th birthday!

Garin's birthday weekend started with a Thursday night dinner out, which was the actual night of his birthday. He dined on sushi, one of his favorite meals.

We went a little retro with a gnome theme for Garin's family party. All the 16th birthday party supplies were too "sweet" so we opted for old school. Garin was happy with his decorations and his menu choice as well consisting of a mixed green salad, roasted garlic broccoli, and old-fashioned macaroni and cheese, all of which are his favorites. For dessert he chose a family favorite, Black Forest cake with chocolate chip ice cream on the side. We all enjoyed that!

Could he be 16 already? Where has the time gone?

I found these photos from his first birthday. They make me smile but also want to cry.

The next day, Garin had three of his best friends (all of whom happened to be girls, as luck would have it for the birthday boy) over from school for lunch, to play board games and do puzzles. Being that his guests were girls, they brought the most thoughtful gifts, including delicious homemade cookies and exquisite hand-drawn cards with long, well-written, and heartfelt messages inside. You're unlikely to get those types of gifts at a boy party (no offense to the opposite sex intended).

The laughter coming from his room was infectious. Garin even put up with an impromptu roast over lunch and was a great sport about it! The girls ended up staying until close to dinnertime they were having such fun.

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