There are times when I think maybe I am not cut out for motherhood. I know you are probably thinking it’s a little late in the game to start thinking that way. I can handle pregnancy; sleepless nights, potty training and homework that make me question how I ever passed the fourth grade. But I don’t think I can handle having my children drive.
I am now officially the mother of TWO drivers. Gulp! My oldest two children are girls and are a year and a half apart. My first daughter, Loughlin, was such a sweet baby. She never cried and was so happy all the time. I specifically remember the day, when she was nine months old and happily sitting in a pile of clothes that I was folding, that I looked at my sweet blond headed, blue eyed baby and thought, “this is so wonderful; I think it is time to have another baby.” Nine months later my little Aidan came into this world with her bright red hair and an attitude to match it. She is such a joy to watch because she knows what she wants and is so confident that nothing will stop her from getting it. I still laugh when I think that the biggest gap between my children is between number two and three because it took me a while to get used to two children with such incredibly different personalities.
Their driving matches their personalities. Loughlin was in no hurry to get her permit when she turned 15. I was in no hurry for her to get it. People always ask me if I am excited because she would be able to help with the driving. I probably gave them the craziest look. As much as I complain about it, I love driving my kid’s places. On the really busy days, sometimes the only real family time we have is when we are all in the car together. Selfishly I don’t want to give that up. Like every parent I also have the fear of something happening to them in a car.
The first time Loughlin went driving, she went with her grandfather. She pulled out on the road and was driving like a newbie, slowly and cautiously, and someone drove right up on her bumper and honked at her to speed up. She came home so upset that the person behind got mad that she didn’t ask to drive for six months. She overcame the fear and drives me around periodically, but it still isn’t her top priority. It might be because I am a terrible back-seat driver, but I can’t help it! The first time she got in the car with me she asked me, “Now which one makes it go?”
Aidan turned 15 a few weeks ago and was ready to go. She was ready to take the test so we headed to the DMV. I am still amazed at the amount of paperwork you have to bring with you. Birth certificate, social security card, proof of address, promise to name your first born DMV. One of my proofs of address was older than 60 days which is a no-no. Thank goodness I don’t clean out my car because I easily found a newer piece of mail. With both of my girls when they went to get their license you would have thought that the picture going on their license was going to be used for the cover of Vogue. They kept asking to have it taken over. I finally spoke up and said, “Honey, that picture is fine”. Aidan looked at me and asked me if I had looked at my license picture lately. I pulled it out for a quick peek. Is that really me? Holy cow- is that what I look like? I changed my mind, the DMV needs Photoshop!
My rule is there is no driving practice until they have the learner’s permit in hand. We walked out of the DMV and Aidan had it in her hand. I don’t think she is going to be as willing as Loughlin was to take her time learning. She wanted to drive home. I told her “no way, you are not driving on a street the first time you get behind a wheel. “ She rolled her eyes and said, ”Mom, I know how to drive a go-cart, a golf-cart and I always get the high score on the race car games on the Playstation. I know how to drive” Great, I feel better all ready. Too bad when driving a real car you don’t get to reset things like a game if you mess up!
I am leaving in a few minutes to take the girls driving. Loughlin will drive us there and home and Aidan can practice once we get there. I was going to take her to an empty parking lot until my brother-in-law gave me a better idea. He told me to take her to the cemetery. He said there are lots of curves and I can take comfort in the fact that she can’t kill anyone there. Very true! And I guess I can take also take comfort in the fact that if I can’t handle this part of motherhood and have a heart attack like I tell them their driving might give me, I am in the right spot for them to drop me off!