Thursday, September 14, 2006

Behind The Wheel

Totally shifting gears from my last post (no pun intended)....LargeBoy now holds a Driver's Instructional Permit. That means I now have my first student driver! CRAP! Don't get me wrong, I'm terribly excited at this new milestone in his life. It means he's getting older (I'm getting older), he's getting more responsibilites placed on him (which I hope he uses well), it means, potentially, less running around for me, it means I now have the utmost of leverage ("I'll take away your driving privileges..."). Unfortunately, it also means I have added another worry to my list.

As a new driver, I could never quite grasp why my mother was so petrified everytime I left the house. I thought the demands of, "Call me when you get there," and "call me before you leave to come home," were just WAY too overprotective. I thought she was absolutely insane for not sleeping until I walked in the door and said goodnight to her. My take on that changed the day LargeBoy was didn't quite grab ahold of me until a few years ago as the teen years approached, and it didn't start gripping me and shaking me, causing Shaken Mommy Syndrome, until I saw the permit in his hand last night.

Of course I worry that he'll get into trouble, he'll get in a flat and not know what to do, he'll cause an accident. I worry that he and his friends will be driving around with the music cranked, doing God knows what....but I also have great confidence in my son that he'll use his privileges so as not to lose them. I've raised him to be a responsible young man. Of course, I know that as the independence gains, so does the lack of responsibility - that's why I have never finished college.

But those aren't my biggest worries. Those can be dealt with accordingly. My biggest worries are the worries that he is out on the road with other people who may or may not be driving like morons. What if he is the safest driver in the world, abides by every traffic law, never gets so much as a parking ticket (although in my village that's next to impossible)? I've heard too many stories, too many horror stories. I certainly don't need to repeat them; even if you've never had the opportunity to hear one first, second, or third hand, I'm sure you can imagine.

I suppose I could worry myself to death and be the ultimate in crowding, overprotective, and totally insane parents. I could tell him that he's not allowed to get his driver's license until X age. I could tell him that even after he gets his license he's not allowed to drive. I could do all of those things, yes, but what good would that do? It would just put off the inevitable.

This is a milestone in his life, my life, and a rite of passage. I have to let him go, just like when he went of to kindergarten for the first time, just like letting SmallBoy do more things on his own....I'll help him to learn to drive responsibly. I'll teach him what every responsible parent teaches their child. I'll stress to him even moreso the importance of just saying no to drugs & alcohol. I'll have faith in him to make the right decisions, knowing that I can revoke his privileges at any time.

Most importantly, I'll let PC do the driving with him. I'll take a valium and stay home patiently awaiting their return. I know he'll be fine. Hell, my sis, KR, has her license now, and THAT didn't worry me...I suppose it's different as a parent than as the big sis, but, I'll relax for now, until he's behind the wheel again. PC is going to pick him up from school and let him drive a few blocks, once they're clear of the school zones.

Ok, I'm going to breathe now, finish my coffee, and actually get some work done. Anyone care to lift my spirits and tell me how wonderful their experiences were as the first time parent of a brand spanking new, only 15minutes behind the wheel driver? Surely there is one among you....


Roni said...

Chica...I totally thought you'd be down at the Nashville Star try-outs.

mommyguilt said...

There's that little bit about leaving my family behind, or uprooting them all while I try out....besides, I never heard about them. Been SO busy lately.

Roni said...

OK, so we work on a plan for taking care of the kids next year. Hmmm...boarding school? ;)

KR said...

Well, I have faith in LargeBoy. I think that the Chicago traffic is horrendous, but I handled it pretty well coming from "this here small town" and I think he'll be fine. As for experience with a new driver, I'm not my mom, but I'm sure she'd say this:
It was extremely stressful for both of us during the learning process. Also, once I had my license, I still underwent three months of driving with her before I was sent on my merry way to get milk from the grocery store. As much as I would have loved to have taken the car the minute I had my license, I was glad I had the extra practice.
LargeBoy will drive differently once you're not in the car with him, but it's only because our eyes are open even wider because you're not there to scream, "Oh my God!! Don't hit that!!" Seriously. My mom doesn't believe me, but I am so much more aware when she's not with me. It's odd, I know.
Just breathe.

mommyguilt said...

Thanks, Little Sis! I think the most difficult thing right now is the stupid hand over hand steering...the kids have to focus on remember proper technique so much that they're not concentrating on the turn itself....just let them turn however, as long as they make the turn, right?

PC took him driving around this afternoon and said LargeBoy did 10x better - and his was during dry daylight conditions, compared to last night's slippery when wet.

Thanks for having faith in him...send some my way - for me, that is, that I don't turn into a crazy insane mommy!


gretchen said...

Kate has her permit also! I assumed her dad would teach her. But interestingly, she seems to feel more comfortable with me in the shotgun seat (great). The big bad stepmother makes her less nervous than her dad does!

I mostly worry about her being AWARE of everything going on around her- being a defensive driver. With the radio and the cell phone, all those potential distractions...

But I'll be glad when she can take herself to and from practices and friends' houses, etc.