I love having teenagers. I really do. When you have little kids, people like to warn you about teenagers and try to make you terrified. As if they turn into monsters on the day of their 13th birthday. Honestly, I love this stage of life. I enjoy seeing their individually combine with independence. I also really like hanging out with them, they are pretty fun to be around! Sure, there are hard days and it's not all perfect. There are things I have had to learn. There are compromises and power struggles. There are moments of realizing that you have to start to let to go. I feel like I am growing up too as a parent. But all in all, I love life with teenagers.
Except for one thing.
I seriously feel like it was JUST a year ago that free reign to walk around our small town was something I was comfortable with. (I might have been a little delayed on that because I watched too much crime TV.) Now, my child can go write a test on a piece of paper (that he only studied one night for because he has a photographic memory) and suddenly he has permission to drive a motor vehicle on the road with other people in it.
"Jesus take the wheel" has never meant so much to me.
In spite of my misgivings, I was determined to be positive about driving.
I thought I was doing pretty well. I took him to the high school parking lot and I let him drive in circles. Big Circles. I was calm. I didn't scream. I didn't yell. I showed him how to back up, how to signal and how to pull into a parking spot. I was so proud. I thought we bonded. I thought I would be his favorite instructor.
But then HE got involved.
He = Husband
Apparently a man has no misgivings about letting a brand new 16-year-old driver drive ANYWHERE. Sure, he just got behind the wheel four days ago - let's let him go on main roads. With other cars. And how is he so relaxed about it? I'm in the backseat breathing into a paper bag. Is my son a good driver? Yes. Am I generally a bad passenger? Yes. Is my son ready to drive an hour away on the country roads? Not without me needing medication. My anxiety should subside after a good session of Driver's Ed and 10 classes with a driving instructor. (God bless the driving instructors!)
But it's more than that.
Driving represents a whole new season.
Noah, I know that you are a good driver. You are doing great! However, for the past 16 years I have been in the driver seat. Not just in the car, but as your mom. Seeing you behind the wheel is so much more than just worrying about you sideswiping all the cars on our street. It's just another reminder that one day you will drive away. It will start with some fun excursions with your friends. Then, you'll want to take a road trip. Then it will be off to university with a car packed full of your belongings. Eventually, you'll be driving off to your future. I'm excited for that. I know the roads ahead for you are ones that are amazing, and that God has them all planned. But in the meantime, it's hard for me to move to the passenger side. It's hard to give up control. It's about so much more than you learning to drive.
You're becoming the driver.
You are going to decide your route.
No matter where you go, I'll wave goodbye with tears and welcome you home with hugs and smiles. "Home" will be programmed into your GPS and you'll always know where to find your family. You can never drive too far away that you can't come back.
In the meantime, I'm going to enjoy the ride
Being the best passenger I can be.
Letting you take the wheel.