New Driver in the House!

About two days after M got her license, I started writing this post by saying that “this is taking some getting used to.” After a quick holiday break, I’m pleased to report that I am now completely and fully adjusted. But let me catch you up.

M’s great tragedy is that her brand-new driver’s license was not accompanied by a car. This has transported us back into the bad old days of 7th grade, when every single one of her friends had a phone and poor M was still waiting. Remember that? I joked that maybe she should craft herself a little car out of cardboard like she did with a phone way-back-when. M went to a Christmas party recently and she was literally the only person at the gathering who wasn’t acquiring a car (or at the least, sharing a car with a sibling) with her license. I really don’t think that it’s like every kid in our town has their own car–it’s just the social group that she ended up in. She’ll just have to be brave and endure the hardship, I guess.

The good news is that I don’t love driving, anyway, so I’m happy to share when I can. Actually, the day she got her license I still had to pick her up from school, and for whatever reason, we were getting on each other’s nerves right away. We were almost home–driving along a street that’s parallel to ours, with a shortcut we can take on foot–when I realized that I could just get out of the car. We were getting cranky, I needed my 10,000 steps, and M hadn’t yet had a chance to drive all by herself, since I’d dropped her at school after the test. So I pulled over and sent her on her way. Both of our moods improved immediately.

M’s next outing: a soccer practice. The location got moved, and I thought she might be intimidated by the new location, since she had driven to her usual field multiple times, but this was new territory. Nah. . . she was rarin’ to go, and by the way, could she please leave early to run a holiday-related errand? . . . Ohhhh, saying yes to this was tough for me. At that moment, part of me wanted her to never actually drive. But just like I let her walk to school in first grade because she was ready even if I wasn’t, I took a deep breath and sent her off and away. But I did request that she send me text updates when she arrived safely. Here are a few texts of her being dutiful and me being an overanxious dork:

The next day, both girls had some free time, so M wanted to take her little sister out for a drive, and J was super-psyched. I asked them to please text me updates. This time they lost track of time a bit. Finally, I broke down and texted. They responded right away.

So it was tough letting go, but I was making progress.

Actually, sometimes it’s not that tough. Like when I remembered that M had an appointment at an office 20 minutes away the next morning at 7 am. “You know,” M said, “I could just drive myself. . . .”

Oh my gosh, she could! And sure, this one felt easier because I knew that she’d driven the route a few times, and it would be early enough that traffic would be light. But also, I was super, super excited to not have to get out of bed early and figure out how to get J’s hair braided in the morning without me. I started to realized that this driver’s license thing might end up being super-convenient!

We visited my parents in Savannah over our Christmas break, and having M drive was super-handy on vacation, too. She could drive her sister and her cousin out for girls outings together, and she was even the designated driver for some of her relations after a wine-heavy dinner. We didn’t have her drive for the actual road trip, mostly because it is a seriously long drive and we wanted to speed. But this morning, M & J did our post-vacation grocery shopping, which was super-duper awesome. Yes, not every little item was exactly what I would have picked, but it was well worth it to get to skip going to the store entirely.

I have gone from fretful to grateful in just under two weeks.


  1. Claire

    Congratulations! You have given me some hope (although I suspect that when my time comes, my transition won’t go as quickly or smoothly as yours has). I remember as a kid fantasizing about getting a car for my 16th birthday, which, if you knew my family’s income, was quite the fantasy. And it would now be a fantasy to think of my son getting a car at that age, so I hope he doesn’t feel completely deprived and neglected among his friend group.

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