As the More is More Mom®, I’m all about……….more new drivers! While it’s exciting enough that Nick and I have both been pulled over for moving violations, now Amanda is anxious for her turn to get behind the wheel. Younger siblings just know the drill. Amanda was all over me to sign her up for Driver’s Ed in the fall, four months before she even turned 15! Every Sunday, for 16 weeks, she sat through the interminably boring driving class. At 8am on her 15th birthday, we were at the DMV so she could take the written exam for her learners permit; the first time she was excited for a test!
Now, every time we leave the house, she asks, “Can I drive?” I’m sorry, so far, in my 18 ½ years of parenting, there is absolutely nothing as terrifying as sitting in the passenger seat while your child is behind the wheel of the car. I guess it’s because you are keenly aware of the fact that they don’t know how to drive and you’re taking your life into your own hands. Besides, I never allow enough time to get anywhere, and teaching someone how to drive is extremely time consuming. On the other hand she’s really excited and I want her to have as much experience as possible, so as often as I can, I answer, “Yes.”
So far, I have to say that Amanda is an extremely conscientious driver. Before she even starts the car she adjusts the seat and her mirrors, turns off the radio and puts on her seatbelt. We discuss what route she’s going take, where she’s going to park and which way she’s going to turn the wheel as she backs out of the driveway.
She’s a gamer too. In the aftermath of the great snow storm of 2011, when we could barely get two cars down our side street at the same time, her driving instructor called to ask if she was still up for her regularly scheduled driving lesson. She couldn’t slip her Ugg’s on fast enough. So, last weekend when she asked if she could drive to meet my parents for the ballet in downtown Chicago, how could I say no?
Amanda is like Goldilocks and our cars are like the Three Bears; Momma’s sedan is too small, Poppa’s Yukon XL is too big, but Brother’s SUV is just right! Of course Brother’s SUV is disgusting and smells like hockey equipment and left over fast food wrappers, but it would have to do. Buckled in, we set out for our very own Thelma and Louise adventure; driving on the Eisenhower. We made our way over the railroad tracks, through our little downtown and headed to I-88 where she had to enter the highway, in a giant loop and merge into traffic…between semi trucks. Cool as a cucumber, she put on her turn signal, checked her mirrors, looked over her shoulder and made her moves, keeping up with traffic, but not going too fast. She was practically a pro!
We had only one near fatality as Amanda contemplated changing lanes, which was as much my fault as it was hers. Fortunately, with a little defensive driving, the lady behind managed to avoid colliding with us going 60 mph. Yay for defensive driving! Amanda did a great job, managing all of the traffic, lane changes and most impressively exiting the Eisenhower onto Congress Parkway. With 10 months left of practice, I think she is going to be an excellent driver!
More anxiety, more imaginary brakes, more mother-daughter bonding experiences………