Letting your kid drive

If you have never had to teach a teenager to drive, you have been so, so fortunate.   It has been many months of high blood pressure and sometimes complete fear…okay maybe only that one time…and maybe that other time, but nonetheless it has been a tough process for me, the mom, and I am sure for him, the oldest and newest driver in our family.

I never thought much about having my kid drive other than thinking it will be great when we can send him to run out for eggs or milk, two of the things that we are constantly running out of.  Then summer began and we, the parents, had a brilliant idea that he needed to get a job. And without a license and/or a car to drive that meant we were the transportation. We have ALWAYS been the transportation, but it had always been on our terms for the most part, or when we felt like going here or there.  

Shortly after he started his job at a certain newer pizza place in town, I think my husband and I both realized pretty quickly that he was going to need to get his license soon and a vehicle would have to come with that license.  Fortunately, for us, he was enrolled in the driving class offered at the high school, which only furthered confirmed that he definitely needed to be driving, because his class was in the middle of the day. Luckily I work here so it was just a little inconvenient.

This isn’t like when I was a kid.  We went to my Granny’s quite a lot and I would drive my dad’s stick shift Toyota pick up all over their farm.  My uncle used to take me to the mall after hours and let me drive his corvette. Or I had so much confidence in my driving that I would take my mom’s car on the road before I was old enough.  I was in middle school when that all started. And even earlier than that I can remember riding in whoever’s lap and turning the steering wheel as we went down the road. My kid has not had that experience and his siblings probably won’t either.  So it is terrifying once they get behind the wheel, hoping they don’t confuse the gas with the brake like my girlfriend’s daughter.

He did get many hours of driving with his learner’s permit.  We held onto that forever…because of the fear. I spent most of that time in the passenger seat next to him being a little worried. He is a good driver, though, but I am his mom.  The day he got his license, he dropped me off at work in MY Explorer and I watched him drive out of the parking lot with my youngest in the back seat. Now not only is my oldest in control of my newish vehicle and HIS life, but he was now responsible for my youngest as they drove home.  I was only able to breathe after he messaged me to let me know that he made it home, just 5 minutes down the road.

And a vehicle did soon follow and a lot more independence.  This will be a big year for him and us. He is a senior, so we will experience a lot of the “last times” with him and he becomes an adult at the end of next month.  But I can’t worry about that now, I need to concentrate on being okay when he and his sister head out for the high school each morning. It is tough letting your kid drive and letting go of that “control” and opening up that “safetynet” a little that you have established all these years raising them and protecting them.  He will be okay and I will be, too.

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