Driving with a teenager gives me heart failure!

Driving Cars in a Traffic Jam

Funny how fast a year can pass by! When we last met, it was time for our daughter to start driving on her permit. Now that certainly wasn’t our choice, it was pre-determined by the school schedule. Read here about how we were surprised that she’d be driving, to better understand this story.

Fast forward one year and all memories of learning to drive in school have faded. Beloved has been chauffeuring her parents around town whenever she thinks to ask about it (we certainly don’t bring it up) and is about two seconds away from earning her license. Yes, I said license, as in eligible for driving…alone. This thought still strikes fear into me however we have spent the last year training for the event.

We started off slowly with neighborhood jaunts in the car and graduated to traversing the local town. As she excelled at the task of driving her normal route, we shook things up a bit with back roads leading to the mall and the occasional crossing of highway traffic. Did you ever notice how much faster the cars coming at you look when you’re sitting in the passenger seat?

We have yet to venture onto the main highways that service our city because quite frankly we’re too scared. I have promised her at least 100 times that we will get to those at some point, on a Sunday, in the wee hours of the night, so that nobody else is on the road. She simply rolls her eyes and understands that she’s not going anywhere until I’m ready.

Driving with her has reminded me of all the ways that I take chances when driving, so I’ve also been learning to follow the rules again. I want to be a stellar example for my teen and most importantly, I want to be here for the rest of my natural life. Accidents happen but thankfully they usually happen to those who aren’t driving properly. We are both doing our best to avoid tragedy.

I must confess that Beloved is a really good driver. She is mindful of the rules and at times overly cautious. Just Plane Dad and I explain that confidence is also important when driving. She seems to understand the huge responsibility that comes with being behind the wheel of a vehicle. I say a prayer of thanks each night that at least something sunk in.

Since we are so close to her obtaining her driver’s license, we have been “casually” looking for a car for her to drive. We’ve gone from small compact older models to brand spankin’ new midsize ones. Beloved still yearns for a Jeep and still knows deep down in her beautiful heart-that she’ll be driving a Ford. She has resigned herself to accepting whatever car her parents purchase. Last year, we had fussing and grumping over our preferred choice of a vehicle-she’s now matured enough to understand what the brand means to us. My how a year changes things.

Most apparent over this last year is how we’ve all grown. Where once her father and I couldn’t fathom letting our only child drive the cruel streets; we now know that it is a task necessary to her growth. She’s excited about getting a job (this too shall pass!), heading to college and growing older.

I now see that we’ve done a great job raising her into this independent young lady and that our job as parents is changing. Our time as a family living under one roof will end in the next few years. Whereas last year, these future thoughts gave me heart failure; now that we’re a bit closer, it’s just more like a broken heart. I’ve grown too.

Bio: C. Lee and Khris Reed hope to change the world’s perception of helicopter parenting by proving that no harms comes to children whose parents hover. You can stay highly involved in your children’s lives and still maintain a happy, healthy, loving connection. Listen to their Tales from the Not-so-Darkside of Parenting at Helicopter Mom and Just Plane Dad or on Twitter and Facebook.