While other moms are preparing for back-to-school by mapping out how to buy school supplies without breaking the bank and deciding what gear they can’t live without, I’m over here losing my collective you-know-what. Not because I’m stressed with last-minute errands but because in less than two months, my teenage daughter will officially be driving. In a car. On her own with other cars around her that can’t possibly be trusted.
Of course, I’m excited for the perks of having another driver in the house. No more need for planning carpool or managing after-school activity schedules because she will be in charge of drop off and pickup for her and her brother. If I’m cooking up a Mexican feast on Taco Tuesday and realize I forgot avocados, off to the store she goes. When I go to a neighbor’s house and need an extra bottle of wine, a free delivery service from my personal wine rack is just a text away.
Even with all of those perks (and those are some really good ones), I’m an absolute mess. I consider myself a pretty chill mom. The word “helicopter” has never been placed in front of my name, but being faced with my driving daughter has changed all of that.
To be fair, the first time she got behind the wheel, we didn’t make it out of the neighborhood. She hit the gas instead of the brake, plowed through a stop sign, and appeared to be heading towards the side of our unsuspecting neighbor’s house. The screams “hit the brake!” from the car will be etched in my mind forever. After she stopped, her brother got out of the car and walked home. No one in our family can claim that day as one their finest moments.
Even though she almost killed us all, she’s actually a good driver. Since that early day, she has navigated busy interstates and driven the family to and from local places without incident. None of that matters. Every time she gets behind the wheel, I micromanage her like an overbearing boss who gets darts thrown at their face during the office happy hour that they’re never invited to because they’re lame.
Do you see the red light?
Those cars in front of you are stopping.
Why are you going the speed limit when you could be going so much slower?
There have been fights and tears, and I am in no way nailing this new driving era. I am simply surviving. That’s really what all my angst and overreaction boils down to. I’m terrified. Not that something will happen to me while I’m in the car, but that something will happen to her when she’s in the car without me. I can’t control that when the time comes, so I’m controlling everything else while I can. If I badger her enough or drill every possible scenario into her head, maybe, just maybe she’ll remember what I said when something unexpected happens on the road.
Because I’m clearly not cut out for this part of parenting, I’ve left most of the driving lessons to her father, and he is nailing it which is beyond frustrating. Get on the crazy bus with me, dude. I feel like this was in the vows… I’m also signing her up for driving lessons with the professionals at Dillman Driving School. I’ll be blogging about that experience in the coming weeks, but let’s just say I have high expectations that they will turn her into the picture of driving-safety perfection. No pressure, though.
For now, all I can do is try to settle my anxiety over this next chapter in parenting, remember she’s smart and responsible, and pray a few extra prayers. I might also look into indestructible, heavily armored cars designed to withstand any type of collision. Is that a thing?