Friday, March 31, 2017

Driver Independance


First, thank you all for the comments about yesterday's post. Many shared their own stories of loss, health crisis, and echoed thoughts on the importance of valuing the life we have, and not taking anything for granted. I've had some restless nights, not because of worry or anxiety, but because my brain is so full of the possibilities yet to come for me, my family, and people I care about, and I am thinking towards the future.

So what does that future mean to me today? Laundry, piles of it, are staring at me when I look down the stairs to the makeshift laundry folding station on a card table. It's good though. It's my day off, and I will put on some music, perhaps my favorite BBC World News (where I pretend I am a proper English homemaker), and tackle the folding, having it all put away before the end of day. I will be making a huge crock pot of Sloppy Joe's for a visiting college orchestra choir, setting up, serving, and cleaning up, before getting to enjoy the concert.Other parents are bringing salads, fruit, mac and cheese, and a few hot dishes. Last fall when we hosted a different college group, there was so much appreciation on having a home cooked meal from the kids, who had been eating fast food for several days. DD2's group will perform a few songs with the college students. The sun is not fully up, and while it looks a bit gray, it has a hint of spring vibe. I'll bundle up at some point before going to the school and take pup for a good long walk. 

This week marked a full month of DD2 having her drivers license. She didn't have a parking permit the first week, but has been driving herself since March 7th. It dawned on me when I got in the car yesterday morning, radio station still set to my public radio station and not the pop music station we compromise on when in the same car, how much I miss the 15 minute drives to school with her in the morning. On a few days, she was a less than responsive teen, tired from staying up too late or rising to early to finish housework, but most of the time, it was undivided attention between the two of us. We'd laugh and then discuss something dumb on the radio that made us think of something else. She would describe the latest slang. We'd brainstorm ideas for dinners at night or weekend plans. I'd get the latest news on her friends.Those mornings are done now and I miss them. Granted, I am not living my schedule on her schedule so much any more. I leave to and from work early some days and late others. DH and I aren't constantly juggling  phone calls figuring out who has to pick her up when and where she needs to be next. The driving independence has greatly changed our family dynamics. 

Still, I am so grateful to experience this right of passage with my youngest, as I did with the older two. All are good drivers, and despite her inexperience, I worry more about her risk in a car due to other drivers.That risk would be the same in a car with me or DH. I can clearly remember my first driving experience as a newly licensed driver, taking country roads to a town hall to help pour coffee and clean up at my older sisters friends wedding reception. My younger sister and I deviated from instruction before coming home, and drove into town to the A&W root beer stand. It was such a great feeling of Independence. As much as I miss my morning drives with her, I know my daughter has that same feeling. What a feeling!
 
From Allstate-found this a bit too accurate!

6 comments:

  1. My 18 year old is afraid to drive, as are most of her friends. What makes it worse for her is that several family members keep nagging her about getting her drivers license. I figure if she isn't ready, leave her alone! When she is ready, she'll do it. We live in one of the worst traffic zones in the U.S., Los Angeles. She sees, daily, how horrible some people drive. That said, I still would like her to have her drivers license. She starts college this fall and I don't want her to feel stranded. There isn't much around her University, and she is used to having a major metropolis all around her. We shall see ...

    D.

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    1. My son lives in the LA area, and from what he describes, I get it. DD wanted to drive to the zoo, the free one in St Paul, tomorrow and we said no. Until she gets more freeway driving experience with me, she's not heading out with another kid onto freeway traffic.

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  2. My 22 year old is afraid to drive and it's hurting her now that she wants to do certain things, like move away and get a job. I told her I had all this week off and that I could take her to get her permit. Every day I asked her if she wanted to go and every day she said she was busy working on art commissions. Oh well. The week is over. Opportunity lost. I can't force her, but gosh, I wish she had more self determination.

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    1. Is there a good public transit system where she wants to move? My older daughter has a 26 year old friend that never learned to drive and lives outside a small town. She has had to rely on her mom, my daughter, her sister, other friends for all her transportation needs and I think she has lost many opportunities. My daughter didn't even want to tell her that her little sister is now a licensed driver, so as not to make her feel bad, but of course with the power of social media, she knows.

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  3. I live in the alps and on my oldest son's first driving lesson the instructor took him up the mountains in the snow!!! I nearly laid an egg, but I guess in the end it makes him a confident driver (I hate driving on the snow). On the cooking for friends business, a few years ago a French friend asked if we would host a couple of American kids for a few nights. They were over in Europe for an acapella (sp?) singing competition and were staying in my local town. They were lovely young lads and I heard them boasting to their friends "hey we got lasagne AND we got to speak English", as the other kids were housed by French families! I went to hear them singing at the local church with fabulous acoustics - they really were sensational. And they got a standing ovation from a church filled with French farmers. Lovely. And I know what you mean about missing the driving time with your daughter. Mine were mostly comatose during the drive to school but occasionally we had the greatest conversations. Sadly those days are gone but hey, that's life and that's the way it should be. Anna

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    1. Had it still been snowy, she'd have waited a bit longer to drive but we've had an odd winter. Love your hosting story.

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