GOT Drivers Permit!

Got Drivers Permit!

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.



20 thoughts on “GOT Drivers Permit!

  1. If I may suggest have several adults take Cole out for a spin. Every adult has a theory for the famous three point turn or parallel parking and it helps to get the experience of many. This is not something I figured out but was told to me by my daughter and son.

    • OK, Nancy. You go first. The next time you are in the city, schedule time with Cole at the wheel of your car. Report back to us your experience.

      • I would be more than happy to give Cole his first lesson driving in rural Illinois. I think the winding roads and high elevations would even scare the poop out of his calm cool collective mom. The speed limit is 55mph and the drops from the highest elevations would have the Chicago driver palms sweating. City driving is a cake walk unitl you go onto the expressways, change lanes or drive on the highest elevations in the Midwest by me. I’ll be waiting for your visit Katybeth where he puts the pedal to the metal on the winding roads of Jo Daviess County!

  2. OMG. You are letting your kid learn to drive in Chicago? You must have nerves of steel. We are a long way from the moment but please continue to share how you and Cole are doing. I can not imagine.


  3. I’m so thankful my son learned to drive on empty country roads instead of in busy Chicago! And, with as many hours as are now required for behind the wheel practice, I was able to put him through his paces in all sorts of weather, both day and night, in city traffic and country, on interstates and one-horse lanes!

  4. Kudos to you and Cole. Of all the teenagers I know, I would feel most safe riding with Cole. He is level headed without being stuffy. He exudes confidence. Can he drive a 5-speed?

  5. Best of luck to you as you teach Cole to drive…I have no words of wisdom for you…only sympathy! Hopefully, he’s listening to the important parts of what you say like “Slow down or we are going to die!”


  6. My Dad had an unusual way of describing how to accomplish the parking in between two tight cars on the street. The Fbomb was dropped throughout the entire experience!Repeatedly! Loudly! etc….

    • ” wait until you watch your car drive off the block”! Now that is funny and Whoa! sums it up very nicely.

    • Going back through comments and posts to fix links and finding out I failed to respond to a few comments. And yes, it was a …..whoa experience and now we have move on…kind of.

  7. When I learned to drive, we had two cars, one with an automatic transmission, the other manual. My father (Not Elvis), a blind man who, prior to becoming blind had been a driving enthusiast, insisted on taking me out one day to see if I was ready to drive the “stick shift” on my own.

    There was a hill near our house with a stop sign at the top. I had been fine at that hill with other teachers in the car but not so with Dad. He eventually got so frustrated that he made me switch places, tell him when the coast was clear, and gunned it around the corner. One of the scariest moments of my life.

    From that day on, I was an EXPERT at the manual transmission.

    Congratulations to Cole!

    • Now that is a great story….Cole is dying to drive a manual transmission and I can understand since I wanted my first car to be a manual. My brother-in-law has a little sporty mercedes that is a manual….

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