Thursday, August 11, 2011
You Go, Girl .... Just not too fast!
At 8:00 a.m. yesterday, my oldest granddaughter, Megan, got behind the wheel of her Mom's Dodge Durango and toodled off into the streets of Anoka, to return 8 minutes (and a lot of grey hairs later) as the newest driver in Minnesota. Hooray, Megan, and congratulations!
Getting a driver's license is certainly a touchstone along the path to adulthood. To most 16 year olds, I believe it signifies "freedom." Freedom FROM parents knowing one's every move ... freedom TO live one's own life, at least one's own MOBILE life ... freedom to just be.
To those of us a few years past 16 who are the parents and grandparents of the new young drivers it signifies fear, trepidation, relief, happiness, and, yes, freedom for us as well. No longer must we be the human taxicabs. No longer must we dash home from our activities to get our children to THEIR activities. And, hey, if there are younger kids in the family, this new driver represents another chauffeur for dropping kids at traveling sports team venues, at school dances, at friends' overnight slumber parties, etc. It's also a person to send to the store when we discover ... as we are mixing up the chocolate chip cookie dough ... that someone has eaten all of the chocolate chips that were in the refrigerator! (It was probably that kid named Not Me who seems to live in everyone's house!)
Megan, like every kid, could hardly wait to drive on her own. As soon as she walked back into the examining station at 8:08 a.m. yesterday with a grin wide enough to cause her mom's cheeks to ache from just looking at her, she was asking for "the truck." Since the truck is my daughter, Colleen's, only vehicle, there was a certain amount of scrambling to find Mom a ride to work (thank goodness, Grandma is now retired and has some free time!) and a ride home (thank goodness for good friends who are also co-workers). As she left my driveway after dropping Colleen off at MY taxicab stand, it felt like just a short time ago that Colleen, herself, was asking to use our car for her first solo performance. It's actually been 25 years - just the snap of my fingers.
I wonder if 25 years from now, Megan will be standing in Colleen's driveway with her own daughter waving out the window of the car as it pulls into traffic ("She DOES see that garbage truck making stops down the road, doesn't she? I hope she doesn't have her radio turned on while she drives ... Thank goodness, new drivers in our state can only carry one passenger with them for the first six months. Will she remember that there's a detour on the main drag now? Gosh, I hope she doesn't go digging for a Kleenex while she's driving ...." )
Will her stomach be churning with worry and her throat be thick with tears as she thinks about how quickly the years have flown by ... and will she be worrying about what she will do if HER daughter has an accident with their one and only vehicle?
I suspect that may happen, but I hope that Megan will also then reflect on what a great kid Imaginary Daughter #1 is ... just like Megan was (is). I hope Megan will "just know" that her daughter will drive responsibly and safely ... and work as hard as possible to not betray the trust her parents (and grandparents) have in her.
Congratulations, Megan. You have earned this first step into adulthood and we are proud of you. Enjoy your time on the road. You go, girl ... just not too fast!