The Best "Mod" Ever: Kids Life
For all of us gearheads, have you ever imagined what the most expensive mod in your lifetime would be? Back in 2012, one U.S. government report stated that the cost of raising a child for a middle-income family was approximately $235,000. That’s a Ferrari 458, just to put it in a car enthusiast's perspective. As a guy who doesn’t keep cars very long, an 18-year “lease” seems pretty crazy…
I wasn’t exactly sure if becoming a father would suddenly alter my life decisions as an enthusiast. Would I want a mini-van all of a sudden? (Hell no.) More importantly, will I still care about cars? Most of my friends that have kids - nothing personal but let me be honest: their car is the last thing they worry about. They're dirty inside and out, filled to the brim with toys and, sadly, they’re used solely for transportation. Since it's been commonly said that "vehicles are extensions of our personality", does this mean I'm suddenly going to become one of those guys who doesn't care about his cars?
Once my wife and I found out we were having a boy, my perspective began to change. Will he be a car guy? I'm hoping he’ll share the same passion for cars as I do. My friends, who've all been very supportive (and equally excited as we were to discover we were having a boy), immediately changed their tune from saying “Oh man, you’re gonna have diapers in your car” to “Oh man, think of all the cool car stuff we can get him”. Our usual conversations about sportscars turned to what’s the fastest sedan I could buy.
I schemed to change up my cars in order to prepare and “support” the new addition. At the time we had a Prius (my daily), a BMW X5 and the Audi R8. I opted to swap out the Prius for a Toyota FJ Cruiser Trail Teams edition, justifying that it was “safer” and beefy enough to keep my wife from worrying about the kid if my wife happened to take the FJ instead of the X5. Yes, the enthusiast within me is still alive and kicking.
Of course, I had to buy not one, but two Recaro Performance Ride car seats (one in race red) to make sure the little guy was secure. I racked my brain to think of any other “mods” I could do to our cars: "Honey, bigger wheels and tires make the car safer…right?" I also began to wonder about time. Let’s keep it real. Kids take up lots of time. What about my weekend morning Cars & Coffee meets? What about the canyon runs with friends and the local events I'd become accustomed to attending? It sounds selfish, but I’m just being honest — it was something I thought about. No wonder Dads can’t wash and clean their cars! I actually published a feature the day my wife went into labor, almost as if it were a last hurrah. My assumption was that becoming a Dad would force me to “grow-up”, but in fact, it was the exact opposite. Becoming a Dad has made me a kid again.
I get to buy all the car related goodies I can AND I get to use him as an excuse! (Kidding, not kidding. *evil smile*) I get to enjoy playing with Hot Wheels, building Lego Cars and all the childhood things I used to love all over again. Hopefully someday I’ll be able to help him lower his first car (he’s gotta have the right grades, according to Mom). These are all promising signs, at least from an enthusiast’s point of view.
As for going to car events, I recently took the boy out for his first car day with just the guys. He had a blast! I have a scary feeling he’s gonna like aircooled cars now though…hope he gets used to oil leaks! He LOVES cars, most likely because he’s surrounded by them – but really, he has no choice! They say only once you’re a parent, can you understand the true joy a child can bring to your life. I’ve been an uncle many times over and while I love my nieces and nephews immensely, playing with them is fun but it’s sort of like borrowing your friend's car: there’s nothing like having your own. By the way, we’re adding another “458” (aka baby #2) to our family soon, and I'll probably need that mini-van after all. But you know it'll be lowered and turbocharged if I’m going to be the one driving...