“When you change the way you look at things,the things you look at change.”
Looking at the advantages of my teenager learning to drive was tough at first for a recovering anxiety ridden mom like myself. I say recovering, because I am so much better at managing my anxiety, but it does like to hover around in the corners, waiting to make an appearance and take me over sometimes.
When my daughter started driving this summer, I realized I had a choice:
- I could live in a state of fear and panic each time she left the house and got behind the wheel.
- I could put off the inevitable and not allow her to drive for an undetermined amount of time.
- I could make a decision to embrace her driving, knowing she is ready to get behind the wheel, pray a lot and let her go.
I chose number three, although I really just wanted her to ride her bike everywhere, or let me and hubs continue to cart her around.
As she continues to drive, she becomes more confident behind the wheel. And I too become increasingly more confident that she can handle the responsibility – although the worry does want to creep in – a LOT.
There are several advantages, though, to my darling 16 year old tooling around town on her own.
I have free time in the morning before and after school. I get to spend some extra time with teen number two and do very exciting chores like pay the bills, do some laundry and take my time getting ready for work.
She has become my errand girl. Out of milk? She’s my girl. Car needs gas? She’s my girl? Starbuck’s craving at 3:00 on a Sunday afternoon? She flies, I buy. It’s all quite wonderful. (sing that to the tune of ‘My Band” by Eminem. It’s quite funny. See, extra time, the imagination flies!)
I spend less time in the car and can help out in carpools with teen number two more often because she drives herself to and from her activities. It’s lovely not having to be in three places at one time.
She is earning our trust. Each time she goes out and lets us know where she is, keeps us updated with the EVER. CHANGING. plans of their teenage schedule and comes home on time, she earns trust. She proves she is responsible.
She’s learning to navigate freedom. The more trust she earns, the more freedom we allow her and the more she learns how not to abuse it. Freedom, in my opinion, is a massive craving for teens. While I really want to hold her tight at home, cozy on the sofa, she is close to leaving for college and the more she learns to manage her freedom, the better off she’ll be when she is truly on her own.
None of it is easy. This gradual growing up, the slow flow of leaving my nest, the pulling away and the coming back home. But, if I choose to see things differently, to change my perspective and look for the beauty in the frightening, the gratitude that my baby can drive, can grow and can leave me some day? It makes it doable. Makes it a good life. A thankful one.
Did you write in your gratitude journal today? What are ya waiting for? It’s never to late start feeling grateful.
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