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Friday, January 28, 2011

Sweet 16 Driving Permit Intervention

My Lazy River Child turned 16 last weekend.  Of course you know what everyone wanted to know as her birthday approached.  "Are you taking her to get her driving permit???" 

The answer is no.  No I'm not.

As her Sweet 16 approached, her uncle surreptitiously brought home a study manual for "the test."  

Like my daughter, I too was an eldest child.  I was well behaved, but my mom didn't always handle my milestones with ease.  She wasn't too hip on handing over the mini-van wheel to me. This didn't stop her from doing the old "wink, wink" at my daughter as she loudly suggested to a room full of family that she feels her granddaughter, her oldest grandchild, is definitely ready to drive.  

If my boobs were as perky as they were when I was 16 my jaw would have hit them.  This is MY MOTHER, the same woman who referred to my car as a 3000 pound bullet and encouraged me to wait until I was 18 to get my license, who had me stop at a stop sign on a hill before I had fully mastered driving the standard car we were in. She thought it was pretty funny, but I'm still convinced she did it to scare me out of going for my license...because she loved me and was scared of me driving.

At my girl's family birthday party, my 8 year old nephew gave my daughter a key chain "for someday," then turned and looked over his shoulder at me, with a "shame on you" type of look that only the youngest kid in the family can give.  

I felt almost as bad as when the kids found out I threw the guinea pig away instead of burying it. (It was January and I didn't  want to keep a dead pig in the freezer till' thaw.)

The worst part of me not feeling she's ready to drive? The fact that if my hand was severed in some sort of pergola building fiasco (this is entirely possible if you know me) I would have my 13 year old son drive me to the Emergency Room.  Thanks to his grandpa who taught him to drive the riding mower, the hundreds of hours he has logged on the Playstation playing Nascar racing games and Need For Speed, I think he would be my best chance for a speedy hand re-attachment.  There's also the fact that he has his wits about him, he pays attention and can multitask (he can skip note taking in science class to watch a cute girl and get a 20 out of 20 on the end of class pop quiz).  He can make a full breakfast from scratch...pancakes, eggs, bacon & sausage and have it on the table hot at the same time.  I can't even do that.

My River child...she's creative.  She's HILARIOUS.  She's empathetic and sweet.  She also forgets to tighten the tops on her nail polish bottles when she's done with them, regularly locks the cat in her bedroom, and she actually forgot to take the macaroni out of the strainer before she added the foil packet of Velveeta cheese. Yes, she put liquid cheese IN the strainer full of macaroni and stirred it up.

....And people want me to put her behind the wheel of a 3000 pound bullet.  The ONLY 3000 pound bullet this family owns.

I'll admit, being the mother of a 16 year old has me feeling a bit out of my league.  I mean, I wasn't much older than she is now when I graced the world with her.  My parenting skills teeter-totter between stuff I've learned from used parenting books, well meaning school teachers, and well honed seat-of-my-pants flying skills.  So, when something is big, as big as this, I go with my gut and my gut has a lot to say about this particular subject. 

I think when the steady the stream of input from her grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, friends, and the waiters at Applebees who sang "Happy Birthday" then asked "So, ya getting your permit?" dies down...maybe then she'll figure out that this is an adult step in her life, and she might pony up her motivation and shake hands with her inner grown up to meet this goal.  
How I see it
How they see it
As for when she'll be doing that... my gut is screaming "WAIT!  Wait till' the hoopla of the Sweet 16 dies down.  Wait until she decides on her own that this is a step she wants to take because this is an adult step, and she has to take it on her own, like an adult. Wait until she picks that driving study book up without your prompting. That's when you'll know she's ready."  

I'll be 38 when my youngest turns 16 and I'm certain she'll provide me with annotated notes on the study book along with a print out of the business hours at the DMV.  She's sort of like that.  So, please say a prayer that L'Oreal continues to make their Express Kit to color my silver streak back to blond and provide me with sumptuous highlights and please pray that all of this stressful driving business only takes you know, like 3-5 years off of my already dented lifespan.

Best wishes,


  1. I'll never have to go thru this since I don't have kids-but I really enjoyed reading about your trial with this-good luck and so well written!

  2. I can totally relate. The pressures to teach a kid to drive at the stroke of 16, ready or not, are amazing! I'm still not too sure about my 19 year old, although I buckled down and did it.

  3. It's crazy isn't it Blake? I mean, the kids are all so different. It just makes sense that their ability wouldn't necessarily match their age.

    She has complained a few times about it, but she's never studied or done a thing to prepare. If she did it would change my view point.

    Maybe I should suggest she read my blog, HA!