Help! My Teenager is Learning to Drive.

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When did we get here? I have a sixteen-year-old who can’t wait to drive and he has a learner’s permit that tells the world he can start learning yesterday. But his dad is busy, and driving isn’t one of my favorite things to do. Clearly, though, putting the boy off until the next weekend [or the one after that] wasn’t going to work anymore.

So when J said, “Please, please, Mom?” because “Dad is so busy with work,” I had to give in. Not because I wanted him to learn, mind you, but because I had run out of excuses. 

Do you want me to die of a heart attack?

Do you want to lose this great camaraderie we have?

It’s that time of the month. Don’t go there.

Now I’ve got nothing left.

Nada.

And the boy is desperate.

So here we go. 

He says he has sixty hours of practice to fill. Bless his heart, I’ll fill up 30 minutes. And then I’ll break the news to him: it will take way more than that for us to let him start driving on his own.

 

Like I said, driving isn’t one of my favorite things to do.

Sure, it’s part of my job description to ferry my boys to and from school, to make sure they get to church for youth activities or a to friend’s home to chill. And on those rare days when they forget something important, I [may or may not] show up at their school’s front desk [in my pajamas] to save them from a teacher’s disapproving stare.

But I do like driving on my own. Even with the GPS on, I often get lost, but I get lost belting out my favorite tunes.

One favorite road goes past a farm and green pastures. When the fields are gold and ready for harvest, or the trees are dressed in pink bloom, when the sun is rising behind a strand of fir trees or is setting behind a field of hay, when the horses are grazing in a field of buttercups…sigh. I can barely keep my eyes on the road.

But I digress.

 

We were sitting at the parking lot of our elementary school.

I unbuckled my seat-belt and got out of the car.

J followed suit.

We switched seats.

I handed him my keys.

We buckled in.

And then fear hit me, in the form of acid churning in my stomach.

Burp!

But then I see the look of concentration on my boy’s face.

He needed this passport to independence. I had to give it to him.

So I say a quick prayer: The kid put me through labor for over twelve hours. I survived. Surely, I can do this. I can do all things…

He started the car.

I gripped the handle above my seat.

Here we go.

 

The good thing about video games is that it gives one an idea of how to steer and control a car. And, I have to say, the boy was confident.

We went around the parking lot several times, then I let him do the bus loop.

He parked the car three times, staying within the lines.

He practiced for about an hour, and then he had mercy upon my soul.

 

A few days later, the hubby took his son out on his second driving lesson.

On the road.

I was a bit of a wreck at home.

They came back, and the boy was flushed with triumph. He explained, chest puffed out, that although he inherited my genes, he was breaking the curse: he could ride a bike, he could swim, he could tell left from right, and from the beginning, he could drive in a straight line after a bit of correction.

Ingrate.

 

Today the boy asked me if I could take him out driving.

Oh, but he had given me an excuse.

I’m still trying to break all those curses.

He shook his head at me.

 

Just between you and me, the hardest part to all these is what’s coming after.

My boy is growing up and becoming more and more independent each day.

I truly couldn’t be any prouder.

I would have it no other way.

But my mother-heart needs a bit more time to catch up. Because just yesterday, he was pulling on my arm, his sweet two-year-old face beaming up at me, telling me it was time. The Barney episode was ending, and he never let it end without the two of us singing the theme song together.

“I love you, you love me, we’re best friends like friends should be. With a great big hug and a kiss from me to you, won’t you say you love me too…”

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