The moment that most parents dread hit me straight in the face during the COVID-19 lock-down. We thought we were prepared for everything at this stage, but boy was we wrong. Life just got very real. How are we meant to deal with this change, and still have a somewhat calm appearance?
Our oldest Viking offspring turned 16 years old. She’s a mature and responsible teenager, who just landed a job at our church, teaching 1st graders about the bible. Her grades are high, even in her AP classes, which are more challenging.
As a 16-year-old, she can legally apply for a learner’s driver’s permit. It is not a license for a sewing machine or a bicycle, but an actual car! Whoever made that dumbass decision, allowing 16-year-old kids to apply for a learner’s permit, obviously did not have any kids themselves.
As if 2020 couldn’t get any scarier! She’s only 16 years old!
Most days, I’m a pretty calm and composed guy. When my Viking girl called me at the office, informing me that she passed the theory test, I choked on my decaf Dunkin’ Donuts coffee. I quickly turned towards my trash bin, just in case I had to sit out the coffee.
Flashing images played through my head, of her driving my big red truck to school. At school, she would reverse into the assigned parking spot, only to run over the elderly safety guard, and then crash into the principal’s Tesla.
Despite having made a full recovery from my heart failure, my cardiologist said I should avoid stressful situations a while longer. Surely this is classified as a stressful situation?
I really like my truck. I’m conflicted about sharing my truck with a 16-year-old 5’2″ girl. She can hardly get into the truck. I wonder if she sees over the steering wheel. That said, my 5’3″ wonder woman wife controls my truck as if it was a Nissan Micra.
What makes matters worse is that she keeps asking us to take her out driving. She wants to learn, which I really admire, but I fear my heart might have a significant setback. I’m still on heart medication, so perhaps not a good family conversation.
It’s 2020, anything can happen these days!
My wife and I have discussed at length who should teach her. Neither of us is too eager about the thought of panic sweating in the passenger seat. There’s no field, beach, or parking lot big enough. My wife is passionate, and her South American blood might reach a boiling point during these driving adventures. On the contrary, I would frantically hammer my foot into the floor, hoping to break the car every two minutes. We are not the greatest driving instructors.
I took her driving in our side-by-side ATV a couple of months ago, in our small forest and garden, only to have my hearing permanently damaged as she screamed when she went 5 mph. She then proceeded to close her eyes, yelling that cannot steer this vehicle. The ATV was ok, but the small brushes not so much.
In the end, we settled on the best approach, which did not involve either of us. We signed her up for driving lessons with a local instructor. He can deal with her various levels of screaming. That’s his job, and we pay him for his services.
I’m sure it’ll be fine in a few years when our nerves have settled. At least we will have a designated driver. We need to drink large quantities of strong alcohol to stay calm during her driving.
Did your child start driving yet? How did it go? Are you a member of AA?
It is fair to say that we have found renewed strength in the Lord as we seek his guidance and protection. Our prayers are more heartfelt these weeks, mostly asking him to give us the courage, but also for our daughter to be safe on the roads. It might be a tall ask as the Lord already granted me my wish to heal my heart. However, we keep praying.