My son is mere months away from getting his real license. As we near that date, he is insisting on driving more and more, and, because I realize the end is in sight and this is a necessary evil, I allow it. However, why he wants to drive with Miss Crazy, I will never know…
The problem is me, surprisingly. The fact that I’ve done this with four other children should make me inured to the sensation of giving control of a potential weapon to a 15-year-old. Yet 25 mph feels so much faster, vehicles parked on the side of the road appear so much closer, and the braking distance seems so much longer when Adam is behind the wheel–at least when I am right beside him and responsible for his every move.
I act crazy. I avoid using my cell phone to keep my hands and mouth free to give full attention to my son’s driving. I lose my voice and flap my hands when I want him to slow down. I find my voice and make those sounds one should only use in an emergency. I press on the floor boards as if I could stop the car Fred Flintstone style. I scold, threaten, cajole. Yell “Stop!” Tell him “I am over this!” and “If you won’t obey me while I’m in the car with you, what makes you think I will ever let you drive alone?” and other such comments straight from the Love Languages book.
I flinch at every bump. I nag that he is wasting my gas by accelerating too much and wearing out my brakes by not slowing before stopping. Even when he is driving well (which is most of the time), I tend to shatter his driving self-esteem by my exaggerated tone of voice (or hand motions).
In my defense, he has admitted a time or two, “I didn’t see that!” in reference to a car or other large object in our path to which I alerted him. And he has increased his speed or otherwise tried to impress his friends when driving away from them.
However, I have noticed that when he drives with another adult in the car (and I think my husband has taken this role once or twice), and I am merely in the back seat–not responsible–I am totally at ease. My son really is a good driver, and I think driving solo will be good for him. In two months. It will certainly be better for me.
When he was an infant, I remember thinking how much easier it was to care for an infant in the womb than out of it! Now I’m thinking it is easier for me to show my loving care out of the car rather than in it!
Truly, my son is a fine driver. Me? I’m the crazy one.