My teenager has started driving and I’m terrified, but not for any reason you may think.
Is there some anxiety that she’ll dent and ding a car I have to pay for? Of course.
Am I nervously laying awake at night thinking of other awful drivers on the road with my precious baby? Most certainly.
Sure, I worry. Yet, her skills and those of others are not what scare me most about my girl behind the wheel.
What I fear the most is losing my copilot.
Since 2002, more often than not, my girl’s been in my car most everywhere I go.
In the beginning, when I could only see her face in the mirror facing me, her little gurgling songs and coos soothed me during long commutes home from work and daycare.
Then there were the years of chatter about…well, everything.
Somewhere in the middle of this ride, she moved to the front seat and became my constant companion on errands and carpools and even road trips sans dad.
We’ve had lots of great conversations in the car. She has no poker face, so it’s easy to see when an inquiry is necessary. Those inquiries often lead to heart sessions where she shared her hopes and fears with me.
We don’t have much time together these days. She’s a busy bee and that apple fell right from my tree. Until now, all those activities need a chauffeur, so I could always count on car conversations to keep us connected.
What will become of that when she’s on her licensed-own with a car at her disposal? When will I get to sit close and hold her hand to squeeze in excitement or touch her cheek to wipe away the sad?
These kids are moving at the speed of light and my heart can’t keep up. I’m so happy for their accomplishments. I’m excited for the freedom that comes with a license. I remember it well and can’t wait for her to experience that part of life.
I just wish we could figure out a way for her to feel the joy of the steering wheel in her hands without her having to use it to drive away from me.
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