I get it. Now I get it.

On my 16th birthday, my parents handed me a set of keys that not only unlocked my beautiful stallion of a pre-owned Mazda, but also the gates of Wilton as I knew them. My tiny world that had revolved around begging my parents to drive me into the limited teen ecosystem of Wilton Town Center now erupted into an endless adventure of last-minute hang-outs and iced coffee whenever my little heart desired. I was free. I couldn’t drive anyone else for six months and legally had to be home by 11, but I. Was. Free.

My parents kept me in check with several rules I needed to follow in order to keep possession of what I now affectionately called the “Mazda-rati.” I’ve always been a school-oriented kid, so keeping my grades up wasn’t an issue, and besides the occasional deli receipt or Dunkin’ straw wrapper, I kept the car fairly clean. The only other condition was that I had to drive my brother, Jack, when neither of my parents could.

“Easy,” I thought to myself. Jack’s activities, at the time, didn’t often create a need to spontaneously leave the house. Besides, on the off-chance that he did need an exit, my dad was usually available to take him.

Then my brother started football, a sport that, during the summer, has an intense and sporadic  schedule (at least as reported by Jack). There would be days when the scheduled window to pick him up would literally be between 3 and 6 p.m. My parents weathered the unpredictability with grace, and Jack always got home in a timely manner. But as parental schedules dictated, my sisterly duties eventually kicked in and I had to make the occasional trip to the stadium to endure the dreaded pickup line and retrieve my brother from the chaos.

One of these trips happened to be the scene of what I can only describe as the Rocky Road Fiasco of 2018. I left the house with the expectation that Jack would be finished by 6 and rolled into the Clune parking lot bang on-time, only to find it empty. Then, through a series of catastrophic miscommunications, I learned that I was too early to just sit in the parking lot, but I couldn’t stand to face another excruciating rush-hour round trip on Danbury Road. Either way I was stuck. To remain calm and reward myself for wasting over two hours of a summer Tuesday, I bought a big tub of Rocky Road.

The whole encounter put me in a mood for the rest of the day and inspired some possibly misguided hostility towards my brother, ending with my declaration that under no circumstances could he have any of my Rocky Road.

A day later, with a newfound appreciation for the daily challenges of a soccer mom as deep as my craving for Rocky Road, I opened the freezer door to find my old friend — my hard-earned trophy for the heinous ritual that is picking up your child, my single benefit from driving a sweaty boy against my will — had not only been sampled by someone, but licked clean and put back in the freezer. The injustice was excruciating.

So now I get it. This is why my parents couldn’t wait to get me behind my own wheel. This is why my dad insisted that I found rides everywhere before I was driving. Driving your kids around is a true act of heroism — the task of a saint. One should expect gifts, high praise, and awards, and yet often all you get is an empty tub of Rocky Road. So on behalf of all the sticky ice cream monsters you’ve been toting around for all these years, thank you.


Alex Myers is a senior at Wilton High School. She shares this column with five classmates.