Lord Have Mercy. My Teenager Is Driving.

I’m coming to you from the back seat of my own car. 

This is not actually a picture of my teen.  She would kill me if I posted her face. Cuz that would be, like, so lame.

We are headed north for a family ski weekend.  It’s a place I don’t really like to be, the backseat of my own car, that is.  Me, plus no control, equals not happy.  I quickly check my bag to see how much Xanax I have left and if it will last me the whole weekend.  Not enough to share.

See, my teenager is learning to drive. She is currently at the helm of my large SUV, delicately holding the fates of all five members of my precious family in the palm of her reckless hand. Jesus take the wheel. No seriously.  Jesus.  Take the dang wheel.

My husband is sitting shot gun, but as with all things teenager, his approach is much more lackadaisical than I prefer to see. He is making a phone call, looking around, chatting stress free like he is taking a thought-free Uber ride that will automatically be charged to his credit card.  Meanwhile, I am sitting directly behind her, gripping the door handle, knuckles turning white. He thinks it’s funny.  I think he’s an ass.   My head hurts, but maybe that’s from the wine last night.  Point is, I have a headache. 

I can’t keep my mouth shut back here. I have ridden with her in the front seat, and been in control-ish.  I have sat with my eye on the road, on every other person, car and tree around us and given her the driving directions I was sure she needed.  She rolls her eyes and tells me “I know!”  I tell her not to roll her eyes, she needs to keep them on the road. But now, I bring new meaning to backseat driver and its in the form of a controlling mother barking out additional directions to an already stressed out teen driver.

Perfect.

There was a time not too many months ago that I could be quoted as saying something like, “ I can’t wait until my teenager drives. I sure could use the help”.  But here we are, and I’m singing a different tune.  This is the scariest thing I think I have ever done.  The scariest part of mothering a teen so far.  I think about the freedom driving is going to give her and I am both thrilled and petrified.  I will no longer be able to control the when and where she goes, who she’s with, control her safety.  All I can do is put her in the palm of the higher power and pray that she comes home safely every night.

And I realize that learning to drive is only the beginning. Little by little life is making me let go. She is growing up and making some major choices—without me. And each little piece I have to let go of leaves me just a tiny bit emptier.  —Sob! 

We have been driving on the freeway for 20 minutes now, and she has just informed us she is bored.  BORED!!  Yep, it’s one of the many treats of this generation; they are so used to being constantly entertained, that even FUN things like driving bores them. Well suck it up, cupcake. I can think of a hundred more things in life that are far more boring than driving.  No, wait. No, I can’t.  I haven’t been bored since 2003.  I literally don’t even remember what it feels like to be bored.  But I bet it’s awesome. 

Snap back to reality.  I feel like we are going kind of fast.  Just looked at the speedometer from back here.

She’s going 90. 

Not even kidding. 

And yet…she’s bored.  And Dad, in the front seat, is un-phased. 

I just felt a gray hair grow.  A new wrinkle form.  And I most certainly am having heart palpitations. I can only hope we pull over soon to get gas.  It is definitely time to switch drivers. Plus, she’s bored.  Can’t have that.

And here I am.  Just like that, my baby is driving.  And I could cry. Whether from fear or sadness of what it all means, I’m not really sure. But one thing I know for certain, I’m really not entirely ready for this.

But guess what.   #thisislifeafterforty

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