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“My son is starting to drive”: A Parent’s Thoughts

Curvy road leading into the mountains.

Life is a highway, and it can be full of unexpected turns.

I’m having another one of those moments…one where I can’t believe I’ve reached this point in Jeffrey’s life. He turned fifteen in February and it is time to lay the foundation of learning how to drive! Both fear and excitement grip me as I realize how quickly we’ve reached this milestone. A blink in time. I am pleased with the realization that soon he will be able to drive himself to some of his own events, which will give me some more time in my own schedule. I am secretly planning and protecting this new-found gift so it won’t be taken up with another commitment and washed away by the crazy pace of my life.
As for his driving, I believe he will be a good driver. He tends to be thoughtful and is not a kid who takes quick jumps into things. I hope these characteristics carry over into his driving. I am definitely talking more about driving with him. It is interesting how I am more conscious about what I am doing on the road when my kid is shooting questions at me about driving. I am also being very aware of my phone habits while I’m in the car. The continual pressure of getting it all done and setting a good example with the phone is a continual battle for me. I try not to let the pressure of time allow me to make bad choices about safety.
As he begins his online course, he questions all the rules of the road and even tends to critique my driving. Did I stop early enough? Was it a smooth stop? Did you just roll through that stop sign? (Of course not!) I take a deep breath and try to remember if I took my menopause supplement. Then I slow down and think about how important it is to lead by example, with life and with driving. I begin to make a list in my head of all the support that I need to put in place for his journey. Who will help me in teaching him, setting the example and laying the foundation? Thank you! Making a plan, setting goals and tracking them always calms me down and this is no exception. I add to my spreadsheet a column where I list all the good things having a second driver in the house will bring. This column is for me, for when I find myself short on patience. It reminds me how I felt when I sent him off to school. It really is sending your heart into the world…only this time it’s on wheels.
[Thanks to guest writer Martha Martinez.]

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