It’s so close. July 31st my oldest, now 17yo, is going to be taking her driving test and will then, according to Colorado law, be able to drive by herself and drive her siblings without another adult in the vehicle. She still won’t be able to be the driver for her posse, but oh, the freedom that she’s going to be experiencing the first time she just jumps in the car and drives to the market or to meet a friend at Pekoe, her tea house of choice!
This is a profound moment in our lives, as any teen parent knows, because it’s a big step for our child becoming an adult with some pretty heavy responsibilities, and because as parents we quite naturally lose some level of control over their lives when we don’t have control over their departure. In fact, A- and I have already discussed the “don’t leave because we get into an argument” issue and, since we’re a two household family, “don’t come over just because you got into another fight with your mom”. We’ll see how that plays out.
I think the most profound change for us is that since all three children go to the same school, a K-12 school just a few miles from my house and about 10mi from her Mom’s house, the fact that the three children will now be able to go to school without a parent in the loop is rather mind blowing for me. I have driven them to and from school every day for years. And years. And years.
It’s going to require us really rethinking things, including lunches (much harder to convince their sister to stop by the market on the way to school because they were too lazy to pack their own lunches) and post-school snacks (again, if she wants to head home, they won’t be able to convince her to stop for a quick beverage break en route).
Since A- has a new Volvo as her car (well, it’s a 2000 sedan, but it’s in incredibly good condition, as you can see in the pic) I also expect her to have rules about eating in the car, feet on the dashboard, messes, etc. Or perhaps not, perhaps the >cough< condition of her room is indicative of how her car will look after 30 days!
While A- has been driving for almost a year and is quite a competent driver, one thing we are doing is sending her to a six hour behind-the-wheel driving safety course run by some local Boulder police officers called TopCop. Some of her peers have attended and had very good things to say about the program so it seems like money well spent, especially for the chance for her to learn that cops are not bad guys to avoid and be frightened of but public servants helping keep our roads and community safe places.
I know, some of you will disagree with that, which is fine. There are bad apples in any group and there are definitely some bad cops. Every interaction I’ve had with an officer of the law, however, whether a cop, sheriff, FBI agent or otherwise, has always been professional and pleasant. Your experience may vary and I have at least one friend who hates all cops and thinks they’re bad news. No surprise, his interactions with them tend to reinforce that view.
Whether we’re ready or not, this weekend is likely the last time I’ll drive my children to their Mom’s house. Next weekend A- should be able to do that herself (and learn about how all this driving really does waste time, something I don’t think she realizes when she’s a passenger and can space out or play on her phone while I’m shuttling people back and forth, back and forth).
A big, big change in our lives!