See that paper my son is holding? That paper will change his life. That paper is his driving learner’s permit. After nearly a month of drivers education, and several attempts to get his permit (we ran into trouble with not having current identification and the DMV’s office hours) he got it. He many now legally drive with my husband or I. On real roads. With other cars. Other moving cars. No more practicing in the K-mart or high school parking lot. It is time to take the driving lessons to the streets.
Many kids these days don’t need to be taught how to drive. For example, take farm kids. They have been driving tractors since they were three. Or golf cart kids. It seems to be a big thing lately to have a golf cart if you have enough land and these kids race around and become expert drivers by the time they are ten. Quads, go-karts, Gators…nope, none of those in our family. The only driving experience my son has had is his bike.
With a deep breath and moral support from the dog, I took the Oldest to a state park for his first real drive. The state park was a good option because the roads were decent and there was little traffic and few pedestrians. The boy sat in the driver’s seat and I sat in the passenger’s seat with the dog on my lap. They say that pets can help reduce stress, and I think that’s true. Mr. K sat patiently on my lap while I continuously stroked his back from head to tail. It’s a wonder he didn’t develop a bald spot. I’m not saying that my son’s driving stressed me out, I’m just saying…well…there is room for improvement. I prefer staying on the road and he needs to work on his turns a bit. Only one oncoming vehicle had to swerve out-of-the-way, so I think that’s good. I managed to keep my calm and offer suggestion and corrections in a helpful, nurturing tone (I think). In defense of my child, I must point out that he was driving our big, 12-passenger van, which is not known for its maneuverability.
After logging an hour of driving time, it was time for me to take the wheel again to get us home through the busy, Saturday traffic. He has several months to go before he can get his real driver’s license and many hours of driving practice ahead of him. I am confident that he will do well on his exam when the time comes.
It’s a new season of life for him as well as for me. Some parents lament that their children are suddenly old enough to drive. Others are eager to have another driver in the house to help run errands. For me, it’s a bit of both. It will be great to have help picking up kids from school and letting him drive to his own activities. Yet after he gets his driver’s license, the next big milestone is high school graduation then off to college and I’m not ready for that. But for now, we will take it one day at a time and practice those turns and parking and road rules. Each day he will become more comfortable and more confident with his driving abilities, and I will become prouder of the young man he is.
Thank you, Lord, for a wonderful son!