This past Wednesday was the BIG DAY. Cole went to get his driver’s permit after school.
Cole was excited. I was excited right along with him and really not all that anxious about driving with my teen; after all, we had passed many milestones together—taking his first step to driving my car seemed natural … Sort of.
In hindsight, I think I was reliving how exciting it was to get my driver’s permit. My mom taught me to drive, and as far as I remember, she never yelled at me, grabbed the wheel or stomped an imaginary brake. If she swore, it was only when I backed the car out of the garage into our beautiful, perfect, manicured lawn and managed to sink the wheel to a stuck level. I should have realized it was not my mother’s Oldsmobile that Cole would be driving, and I was the mother that would now be riding on the passenger side this time around.
When I shared that Cole was getting his driver’s permit with friends, everyone had a horror story to tell me about driving with their teen. The most positive thing anyone said to me was that the second week is better than the first. I decided to make it my mission to find something positive on the internet about teen drivers. There isn’t anything. Big google fail.
Cole walked into the driver’s license facility with his driver education class and walked back to my Honda Odyssey. (Was it my imagination, or did my Honda shudder?) with his freshly minted driver’s permit in his hand. Looking at me expectantly, he asked, “Mom, can I drive?” Taking a deep breath, I moved over to the passenger side of the car. I had a brief awww moment when Cole placed his hands at the 10 and 2 ‘o clock position on the steering wheel—remembering those were the same hands that clutched his teddy bear not so long ago. My awww moment ended when his foot hit the gas pedal.
Over the last two days and four hours of Chicago city driving with Cole, here are some of the things I have learned. I will continue to share the good, the bad, and the ugly.
(Diane–misery loves company) … and for those of you that already passed this milestone, kick back and feel smug … you earned the right.
- The scariest thing about teaching your kid to drive … is confirming that in fact, they are NOT listening to you. Teaching them to drive dashes all hope they might or could be listening to you.
- It’s important to offer explanations. I explained to Cole that he could not go any faster than the car in front of him before I yelled, SLOW DOWN, OR WE ARE GOING TO DIE.
- It takes some time to get used to being a passenger when Captain Cocky is behind the wheel. I found that turning so I could not see how close we were to the parked cars to the right of me was helpful. Not looking is not a bad option. I am considering buying some of those blinders they put on racehorses.
- The longer Cole and I drove together, the more relaxed I became. The first 30 minutes were torture, but by 45 minutes, I had stopped holding my breath; by the time we had been in the car for an hour together, my fight-or-flight reflex had surrendered. I accepted being held hostage in my own car.
- All is fair in love and teaching a teen to drive—today, after a rather harrowing encounter with a bus that Cole regarded as public enemy number one, I reminded him that my well-being and safety, both as his mother and his passenger, should be his top priority. After all, without me, he would be an orphan … His speed decreased, he appeared thoughtful, and without missing a beat … he said at least I will have my driver’s license and a car. Well, there is that.
Driving with a teen…If you have taught one to drive, you have a story to share. Feel free to share your positive, uplifting, successful results in the comment section of Odd. The truth is overrated -feel free to lie.