Have you heard the commercials? Someone has locked their keys in the car, or they've had a collision "with airbag deployment," or they're in labor by the side of the road ... and they call Onstar - and someone gets them out of their various predicaments. (I'm not sure I want to live in a world where there is no possible thing I can do that will ultimately have a consequence ... where all I have to do is press a blue button and all will be well, no matter what kind of a knuckle head I've been ... but I digress.)
Well, there's no Onstar operator here, but I think there's an Onstar Parent. Two of 'em actually. It has occurred to me that when the kids talk to us now, they're asking for Onstar help. (Well, not every time they talk to us -- I mean, when they're asking for help, it's this kind. They do talk to us otherwise -- not quite sure where some of that razor sharp wit came from either!) See, with the service the operator doesn't come to fix anything. And the parents here don't generally "go" or "do" anything either anymore. And we can't (and wouldn't) unlock the car doors for the person who is peering at the keys in there -- but while we don't call the emergency personnel (or anyone else), we do seem to have the role of saying, "Yes, I know you can get from where you are to where you want to go. I've driven there before."
It's very interesting, that's for sure! You never know what the question's going to be. (When they're little, you can usually tell - but now it's a surprise a good percentage of the time.) And you discover things you didn't know you knew. It turns out that midlife has some distinct compensations - a bit of experience (should you choose to accept it) turns out to have been a good teacher. So you know things like - why the response is perceived as anger, when it's really embarrassment - or yes, it's worth it to keep your integrity intact, no matter who else isn't. Stuff like that.
One thing I think would wreck our Phonehome Service (a service provided currently both on the phone and in person) is some sort of presumption that we were the ones who needed to drive their vehicles. They'd never figure anything out if we did that. But fortunately, we have three kids, and there are only two of us. So over the years, we've learned to give them as much of their own lives as they could possible handle - all the time - at each age. They've chosen their own vehicles, and we don't even know how to drive them.
All in all, even the horrors of the 3 in the morning heeby-jeebies of worry and what if? and all the rest of it that comes at that awful hour, it's still mostly very enjoyable to be at this phase. It's kind of a way to have lots of adventures without having to go anywhere - like getting a travel journal written by someone you'd really like to travel with. I can recommend it.