The Rockwood Files: The Dream Car

By Gwen Rockwood, newspaper columnist and mama of 3

Now that our oldest son has officially hit double-digits in age, he’s thinking of his future – his driving future. His 16th birthday is still six years away (thankfully), but suddenly cars are very cool.

“Mom, I decided what kind of car I want when I’m 16,” he announced recently at dinner.

“That’s great, Adam. But you do realize you’ll have to save up your own money, right? Whatever you save up, Dad and I will match it and we’ll use that money to buy a used car,” I said.

“Yeah, I know,” he said. “The two cars I like best are the Ford Focus and the Ferrari.”

“A Ferrari?” I asked. “As in Ferrari, the sports car?”

“Yep, that’s the one,” he said. “It goes really fast.”

“Well, since one of your choices costs about twenty-thousand dollars and the other one costs more than two-hundred thousand, Dad and I vote for the Ford,” I said.

“Okay,” he said. “I’ll just get the Ferrari after I make it into the NBA.”

“Good plan,” I said.

Now that we’ve got that settled, all that’s left to do is save a lot of money, practice a lot of basketball and wait for sweet sixteen to roll around.

In the meantime, there’s a lot of father and son bonding going on over all things Motor Trend. Tom loves a trip to the car dealership like kids love a trip to the ice cream shop. And now his firstborn son is equally eager to wander around the showroom floor with him.

I stopped going to car dealerships with Tom a long time ago because he was such a “new car tease”. When we began dating, Tom loved to drive slowly down the aisles of cars parked on dealership lots. When one caught his eye, we’d get out and walk around it and Tom would study the new car sticker on the window.

Then an eager salesman would come ask if we needed any help, and the dance would begin. He’d tell Tom about the engine. Tom would ask about the horsepower. Then there’d be the inevitable back and forth tango about leather versus upholstery, the sun roof, the stereo sound, heated seats, gas mileage, and on and on.

If the salesperson really knew his cylinders from his pistons, Tom would agree to a test drive. I’d sit in the passenger seat and inhale that wonderful new car smell and run my hand along the shiny chrome trim of the console. If Tom really liked the car, sometimes he’d sit down at the salesman’s desk afterward and crunch numbers as if a deal was about to take place.

But then we’d get back into our own car, take it through a car wash, and Tom would go on to shop another day. I finally figured out that, for him, it was about the thrill of the hunt.

So I wasn’t the least bit worried when father and son went off to car shop a few weeks ago because I knew how it would end.  What blew me away was when they actually came home with a new SUV! Okay, it’s technically a used SUV, but it still smells new – whereas my minivan smells like old chocolate milk and stale McDonald’s.

Tom said it was a great deal, and I’m more than happy to help him drive it. It reeks of “cool mom” whereas my minivan just reeks. The new SUV may not be a Lamborghini, but I’m planning to get one of those after I land that international modeling contract. It’s good to have a dream.

Gwen Rockwood is a mom to three great kids, wife to one cool guy, a newspaper columnist and co-owner of To read previously published installments of The Rockwood Files, click here.