Sunday, 8 November 2009

Heart in your mouth

So, amidst all the Halloween stuff that is big business here in the States, the Queenager decided to give me even more gray hairs. She drove herself and a friend to another friend's house on Friday night. Eek. First time in the car without a parent.

Such is the carefree nature of youth that she wasn't really bothered about having no idea where she was going. We dont have the fancy navigational stuff in the car, although there is a compass and if you keep going east you hit Lake Michigan, so I suppose you can't really get lost. But she has no sense of direction and didn't know the streets near her friend's house very well. Plus, they're all one way streets, so if you make a wrong turn it's not just a question of going around the block to right youreself. I insisted on printing a map of the immediate vicitinty with big arrows pointing to the road home, much to her chagrin.

Ten minutes before she left with her friend, it started lashing down and of course it was dark. Not great driving conditions, espectially since no one here seems to make any accommodations for inclement weather and other perils of the road. So off they went giggling and laughing about this great adventure, while I stared at the clock in the kitchen and tried not to imagine the police call telling me to meet them at the local emergency room, or Queenager herself tearily explaining that she somehow managed to hit a parked car. I did however, expect her to ring me when she got to her friends - you know, just to calm me down. But no! Having far too good and liberated a time to think about dear old mom. (I did call and she'd made it there in one piece, even managing to park the car in one manoeuvre.)

It's not that I don't trust her or think she's a terrible driver (she's actually quite good), but I remember my first foray on my own after I'd passed my test and it was pretty scary. I realise that parents of driving teens all go through this, but I'm glad the maiden voyage is over - for everyone's peace of mind!

Expat Mum


  1. My son is champing at the bit to get driving, he turned 17 in May, but my excuse was in Gibraltar you need to be 18, now he is back in school in the UK, he is on about it again...I know the feeling, I had my first lesson on my 17th Birthday, passed, my test within 4 months, but this is my baby and I worry about him...But I think the time will come soon for him to start the lessons, there is only so long I can procrastinate about it.

  2. First of all, E.M., I love the name Queenager! We have one of those around here, too! I will be using it for certain!
    It will get easier...just no time soon. Glad she made it home the first time. I know the feelings completely.

  3. This is soooo familiar. We are still at the practice stage. Despite passing Driver's Ed this summer, DD1 (17, which is old by US standards) is just not ready to take that test yet. Our car is way bigger than the school ones and is requiring a lot more practice. That's my excuse and I'm sticking to it!! ;-)

  4. Glad it went well, don't blame you for worrying.....and it was dark, and the rain!!

  5. I remember that feeling. Off they go, for a great night out, leaving you to have an evening in which you can't really concentrate on anything because you're wondering if they're OK. And then they come back, full of the joys of youth, saying, 'Did you have a nice evening, Mum?'

  6. oh MY OH my Oh my!! This is all too hard isn't it....wouldn't you have the preschool times back again..I would trade in a moment, a heartbeat. Do it all over, with what l know now... I would breathe even deeper and really FEEL each nappy/diaper, grizzling, sleepless moment.

  7. They issue learners permits at the ridiculously young age of 15 here in New Zealand , with kids able to get licenses 6 months later. Thankfully that should be changing soon. My two took their time though, but have both been on the road since they were 16 1/2. The younger ( my daughter who has only been at it a couple of months) and I have an arrangement where she texts me on arrival anywhere. A simple thing that stops me worrying about her.