I’m sitting on the porch right now enjoying the summer evening instead of picking up the kids at youth group because for the first time, I don’t have to. My oldest got her license last week.
I think I was more nervous than Maggie the day she took her test. Oh she wanted her license, but I’m pretty sure I wanted her to have it more. I was quickly approaching chauffeur burnout. So when it was her turn to venture out into the driving course, I couldn’t watch. I ducked into the building while she backed into the parking spot, and I came out just in time to see her head off onto the road. I figured that was a good sign, she must not have hit any cones. Turns out she did well overall. Only three points off for going a few miles over the speed limit, and she emerged from the car with a huge smile on her face. I bet my smile was even bigger.
That same day, I was about to leave to pick up the twins at the pool when she sat straight up from taking a nap and offered to do it herself. Even though we had just gotten home with her shiny new license, it hadn’t occurred to me to send her. It was a beautiful thing.
And when she was driving away from the house for the first time alone in the car, I didn’t even feel any pangs in my heart. I just felt relief — relief that the kids can now do all the fun things they want to do, and we won’t have to do all the driving. I’m not sure what kind of mother that makes me.
I will say, I am going to miss her. We had some of the best talks in the car over the years, and it’s unlikely the two of us will be alone in the car much anymore. Now that I won’t be shuttling her to work, to swim practice, to youth group etc., there won’t be the opportunity to check in as often. And that does give me a little pang in the heart. But only a little. I’ll just have to drag her out onto the porch with me and force her to talk to me there.
FranklyStein is a blog by Chesapeake Family Magazine editor Betsy Stein who lives in Catonsville with her husband, Chris, and four children, Maggie, 16, Lilly, 14, Adam, 14, and Jonah, 10.