There’s a new driver in the family and his name is Kid 1. He’s had his learner’s permit for quite some time but just hasn’t felt the need to get it all done till exactly two weeks ago. I’ve heard that trend is fairly normal for teens these days, the idea that teens don’t put as much emphasis on driving as teens in the past. In fact I read a study that if given the choice of spending money on the expense of a car or the expense of their
life line cell phones, most would choose the cell phones. Based on my three cell phone addicts, I can totally see that – and THAT, dear mom friends is a talk for another day. Don’t even get me started…..
Seems like no time at all that I was walking along side him on the sidewalk as he foot pedaled his little plastic car – the one I always called the Fred Flintstone car because he had to drive it with his feet. We’d drive it down the street to play with the neighbors. Then drive it home again for nap time after a hard day’s work.
Then the first time I sent him off in a car with anyone else caused waves of nerves, and it was just with my mom. I couldn’t at that time even imagine the day that I would see him ride off as a passenger in another teen’s car, headed to the movies or the mall or to wherever sells burgers and fries. But then that happened too.
And it was a strange feeling the first time I saw him drive past me in his car. Well really, its a shared car with his dad, a 1999 Toyota 4 Runner that is Kid 1’s ticket to almost adult freedom when not being used while dad is at work. They’ve worked out a good arrangement on drive time, gas cost and that dreaded doubling of the insurance premium.
But a couple of weeks down the road from the official licensing date and I’m starting to get used to it. He’s coming in pretty handy for things like getting last minute items at the grocery store and for dropping off and picking up his brothers. And I know he feels a hundred times better being able to drive himself to his summer job instead of being dropped off by his mom, who may or may not still be in her pajamas.
I’ve compared this new chapter to the days when I was so nervous about sending him to Kindergarten for the first time and wondered what on earth I would do with all my free time. I still laugh at my naivety back then, since it wasn’t long till I was the last one showing up at 3pm pick up time because I ran out of time at the grocery store/work/gym/whatever made the day fly by like a rocket.
I’m trying to remember myself at the age of 17, and how my car was not only my transportation to and from school and my part time job, but it was my traveling time machine. Taking me from childhood to my first taste of feeling like a real adult. I could meet friends; I could drive myself to the mall or to the McDonald’s parking lot, y’all, the hangout of choice of all the cool kids on a Friday night. Times were so simple then, but it seemed so exciting.
I’ve got plenty of good memories and stories to tell of me and my first car, some worth telling, some not so much. So I’m trying to find a good balance of being the cautiously protective mom of a new driver, afraid and not sure how much trust and faith to issue just yet… and what I remember that time of life to be like. It was freedom. It was independence. And it was all mine.
post script – now Kid 2 is starting driver’s ed… and I haven’t decided how I feel about that yet.