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.