Teen Driver

My son has had his permit for almost a year now and I've wanted to capture this moment in time for awhile.  He's the second one I've taught to drive, so he's benefited from my experience and much lower level of anxiety than I had with his older sister.  Now I know it is possible to teach a child to drive and they really can get a license and not harm themselves or anyone else, knock on wood!

This time I've been able to sit back and enjoy the experience more.  Shortly after he got his permit, I gained a new friend in the van.  Going out for a quick milk run, he's in the driver's seat.  Going to pick up a younger sibling, he volunteers to come along.  Going to the doctor and he'll have to sit bored in the waiting room, no problem, he's the driver!  Before having a permit, none of these errands would have interested him in the slightest.

I've gotten to know his sense of humor more, heard more stories about school and sports, and generally feel like I know him better.  It's been a wonderful window into his world and I'm going to miss it.  Already, he's planning for his soon-to-be license.  Where he'll go, what he'll do...Understandably, none of the plans involve his mom tagging along.  In fact, an alarming number of his plans seem to involve driving a vehicle at its maximum speed.  I've lost track of the number of times he's begged for a motorcycle or asked questions like, "What's the fastest speed you've ever gone, have you ever gone 100 mph?"  Um, for the record, absolutely not, and neither should you!

Of course, I've taught driving lessons this year, trying to instill every tip I can, lest I leave him unprepared.  Now there are fewer white knuckle moments and he's asked me to quit telling him to "slow down and be careful" more and more lately.  I can tell he's losing patience with the training process and wants to get on with driving independence. But I've also had the chance to teach about life, to teach about being a young man and entering a new stage of responsibility and privilege.  I've had the chance to make a friend, and I hope he remembers those lessons too, as he drives off into the future.


Am I Normal?

I love to read lifestyle and home blogs.  Lately though, I've noticed I often come away feeling bad about my house, my parenting, or my life choices.  So often the images presented send the message that the writer has it all together.  Even when they try to do a post to be more real, showing you a messy house or kids coming undone, it still feels staged and way better than my own "real" situation.  I like to read about normal life, the things that happen everyday.  Things that make me say, "Oh, I can relate to that!"  The posts that stick in my mind the longest and keep me coming back to read a blogger are the ones that inspire the feeling that she's just like me.  She's had those "losing it" moments where the house is a wreck, there's nothing for dinner, and the kids are talking back.  She knows what it's like to fail as a wife, a parent, a friend.  And she's gotten back up, said she's sorry, and started all over again.

Normal everyday life for me right now involves two teenagers and three elementary age kids.  I have a husband that travels two or three nights a week. There's a lot of running around, early morning and late nights, homework that never seems to end, and sports practices.  In the background, there's a ticking clock reminding me that this is the last year my senior daughter will live full-time at home. Have I done enough, been enough, instilled enough? 

Normal everyday life also is full of sweet moments that I don't want to forget.  All of my kids are old enough to joke with now.  It's such a special feeling to laugh with your teenagers.  They understand and tease like almost-adults now.  I treasure the times we laugh over fashion choices (theirs and mine), teacher quirks, silly mistakes, things we don't know.  I treasure the times we talk about grown up issues and hear their own personalities and opinions come through.  We've moved past the kid movie stage and can all enjoy TV shows and movies that appeal to parents, too.  Now we often get wonderful snapshots of the friendship we will hopefully enjoy with our someday adult children.

I'm creating this blog to document my own normal everyday life, but I'd also to love hear about yours!  What's happening in your life at this stage?