Thursday, August 23, 2007

Ready? Set? DRIVE!

Wild is 15. She is taking the first installment of her first driver's ed class this semester. Thankfully, it's only book learnin'. I probably echo a lot of parents when I say "But, she's not mature enough to be behind the wheel of a 2,000 pound killing machine! She's still a KID!"

She really ISN'T mature enough. Not yet. Maybe in another year. But right now, the thought of her behind the wheel is terrifying. She reacts very badly when she has to make a decision on the fly. She becomes a hand-wringing, indecisive flake. How long will it take her to realize she has to move over when that semi is barreling down the road at her? Or that slowing down for that sharp curve before you get to it is probably a good idea? Will she figure it out soon enough or will we be getting a call from the state police to come down and identify her body? Yeah, don't want to think about that.

We've already laid out the rules for driving. She knows that just because she turns 16 it doesn't mean she automatically gets to take a trip down to the department of motor vehicles and walk out with a license. She knows it, but I don't think she believes it quite yet. And I know she doesn't believe me when I remind her I don't HAVE to allow her to get a drivers' license at 16. Or at 17. At 18, it's all on her. But before then, we are still the parents and she is still the minor.

I am a firm believer in the Good Student Discount for car insurance. So, guess what? Want to drive? Get the grades up and keep them up. I don't really think that's asking too much. Driving is a privilege, not a right.

Oh, I know how very important driving is to teens. I remember waiting very, very impatiently to hit the big 1-6 and be able to drive officially. It meant freedom! It meant I could go places without my parents! It also meant I had to bring good grades home and not act like an idiot.

Needless to say...I didn't have the "not act like an idiot" part down very well, so, I didn't get to drive very often. In fact, pretty much NEVER. Not alone anyway.

And that made me mad. So I acted like an idiot even more.

I once stole my mom's Jeep Grand Wagoneer while she and my stepdad were out of town and forced my sister to go with me for a joy ride. Because if I got caught, we were BOTH going down. It took FOREVER to find the spare keys, but find them I did!

I only admit this now because my mom lives on the other side of the U.S. and can't give me the terrifying "Mom Look." hehe!

And because I know now what my mom was feeling at the time I turned 16 and officially became old enough to join the driving masses. It's quite terrifying.


diane said...

ohhh, you're in trouble now!
:) aunt di

amy said...

I can't BELIEVE you told the stolen Jeep story!!!
Getting me in trouble too.
I've kept that secret for over half my life!

Sona said...

I didn't get my license until I was 18. It didn't kill me.

Ninja Of The Mundane said...

At least you didn't share the real reason teens want to drive ... backseat makeout sessions! Tell one of THOSE stories and whiten the rest of your mom's hair ....

What do you think lies at the root of your daughter's inability to make firm snap decisions? What fears or insecurities plague her?

goat roper said...

Well, I am relatively certain YOUR MOM reads some of your posts. I bet when she reads your concerns and worries about that teenager of yours she just shakes her head and wonders if you have hidden your teen years in some deep recess of your mind. My guess is that YOUR MOM has tried to bury those memories herself, BUT then you torture her with your crazy scribblings and tales and confessions and I think she should just quit reading you because she is probably just old and tired and needs some peace. Your poor ol' MOM!

ReesePie said...

I got my permit the day after my 18th birthday and got my driver's license about a year later. I think it was good for me.

My parents didn't disallow me to get my license, I was at a boarding school and didn't have the opportunity to learn to drive.

I agree with the states that have rules about who a driver can have in their car depending on how long they've had their license.

grma said...

Driving is a privilege, it is not something owed anyone. Teenagers need to Earn that privilege, to even learn to drive a car.
Really, why do 16 year olds need to drive away, way to many cars, trucks, on roads now. Already to many show off, not to bright, teens on roads.
I do not mean Wild, in this statement.

MP said...

I never did anything stupid w/ the car..OH yeah..drinking and driving. I did that, but it was the 80's. Oy Vay...

I turned 16 in November and my parents made me go to Summer School Driving at DuBourg HS. I got my license in August, I was almost 17.. It didn't really bother me.

Slackermommy said...

I'm terrified of the driving years! I could see my oldest stealing a Jeep.

nell said...

I'm really not sure how I lived long enough to make it to 20 with a driver's license.

Absolutely Bananas said...

I'd feel bad for you... but it sounds like maybe, just maybe, you're getting a dose of your own medicine for your own "unruly" behavior as a teenager?! :) At any rate, I admire your backbone and resolve to be the bad guy for the sake of hers and everyone else's safety. After all it is a 2000 pound killing machine! (love that)

Jenn said...

Diane...Oh, I know!

Amy...hehe! Isn't this what sisters are for?

Sona...and 18, although only two years difference, is MUCH more mature than 16, in most cases.

Ninja...I didn't NEED a backseat. :P Honestly, I don't know what her deal is. She has an inability to make decisions, always has. She's wishy-washy on her best days.

Goat roper...well, wouldn't SHE be surprised then! I sure hope she keeps reading though, even with all the hair-whitening confessions.

Reesepie and grma...I agree, I don't think there is any real reason for a 16 year old to get a license and be allowed to drive on a whim. Even those that are employed can figure out how to get parents to pick up/drop off.

MP...oh, drinking and driving...add one more scary thing to the Mommy List of Bad Things!

Slackermommy...word of advice: Hide the keys like you've never hidden anything in your life! too. Oh boy. Me too.

Jenny...Yeah, I got the "Mother's Curse." You know the one..."I hope you have kids JUST LIKE YOU when you grow up!" yeah, thanks for that, mom!

Lisa said...

This post makes me so glad my son is only 5. I'm SO NOT ready for the concept of him driving, let alone the reality. :-)

Dorky Dad said...

Yeesh, I don't envy you one bit. I remember when I was that age, and I barely wanted me to drive.

Anonymous said...

Heck I got my license at 16 and got my cycle license a week later.I never got into truble until I got into my 40s.Everything will be OK. UNCLE DAVID

Jenn said...

Lisa...10 more years and he'll be BEGGING!

DD...My first behind the wheel experience in drivers' ed involved me driving down the wrong side of a street and forcing the instructor to use his brake pedal. Of course, there were two other classmates in the car at the time *sgh*

Uncle David...I'm just waiting for her to ask for a motorcycle. EEK!