My 15 year old daughter started driving about a month ago. Well, actually it was 3 weeks ago when she first went out around our neighborhood with her dad. On a recent weekend she did two 8 hour days of Master Drive – more later – and she is now basically street ready. The only problem is, I’m not. It is hard to describe the feelings I am having of seeing my child driving my car. I don’t know if it’s because my father died in a car accident when I was seven (ya think!), or if I’m really as controlling as my youngest brother accuses me of being, but this is difficult for me. I realize it’s just another letting go. And there have been many letting go moments along this path with my daughter. Preschool. The first time at the swimming pool when she was 4 and I gave her a dollar to walk all the way across the pool grounds to get an ice cream – all-by-herself. Kindergarten. Grade school trips to the mountains with her class. Without me. An eighth grade trip to France. Without me. This is just another kind of letting go. No one told me that teenage parenting was going to be so hard in this way. The first time she sat in the driver’s seat, behind the wheel of my car, we had a seismic power shift. She had just completed 16 hours (2 days) of the Master Drive driving range course. She could brake and turn (at the same time), slalom the cones without hitting even one and maneuver in and out of parking spots. She was on the skid pad that simulated sheet ice and can keep control of the car and steer it to safety. I am more than impressed. I just sat there looking at her and she was like one of those shiny hologram images that switch from eagle to lion – toddler/beautiful 15 year old, toddler/responsible young woman, toddler/full grown woman. It was just the most amazing moment for me. We have moved into a new universe. And while I don’t know a lot about what lies ahead, I do know one thing. She’ll be driving my car (physically, not metaphorically). And I’m just going to have to be chill about it and let go. One more time.
If any of you live in California or Colorado and have teens about to drive, I highly and wholeheartedly recommend the Master Driver program. Find out more here.