• redheadedhippie

Teaching my teen to drive...terror on the road



There I was, calmly dining on barbeque chicken fresh off the grill. I’ve always been a firm believer in families dining together. It’s hard to get the kids to stop for five minutes and I feel like if I trap them with food they may tell me what’s on their minds. And here it came from my 15-year old, “Hey! I just thought of this! I’ll be driving in a year!”

That innocent remark kept me awake for weeks. I couldn’t get out of my head the terrifying prospect of him driving a car. Wasn’t it just last Saturday I was looking out my window when, riding by on his bicycle, he ran into the curb and nose-dived into the grass? Yeah well maybe that was 5 years ago but still on my mind never the less.

My first thought was to have my husband teach him. After all, I taught our now 20 year old. Somehow this thought alone caused another eight weeks of sleepless nights. When I taught our older son to drive my first lesson was “forget everything you’ve seen your Dad do while driving.” He is NOT your role model here. When we were dating he would have to tighten the door handle on my side at least every 2 months. Enough said.

One hour with said 15 year old, and I came in the house with a tic on both sides of my face. I hit that imaginary brake so many times, I wore a hole in the carpet. It was as if I had some kind of mantra going, I kept repeating the same thing over and over again: “Tell me you saw the truck, tell me you saw the kid on the bike, tell me you saw the office building!” I actually asked him to acknowledge a sight as he was driving. “I see the stop sign” Thank the Lord. Parking? After many lessons I assumed that at some time or another he was going to have to actually stop the car and go into a building hence the need for parking lessons. Holy cow, just park far away. Exercise is good for you. Parallel parking? I am a female and well, no I can’t teach you that.

When we finally got home, I fell out of the car and kissed the ground. Ever hear the saying Gumby legs? (I imagined this must have been what Columbus felt like finding dry land.) When I walked in, my husband asked, “How was it!?” Uh, ok I guess. He did skim a trash can when turning around in a cul-de-sac and the owner came out to see what in the heck we were doing backing up, going forward, backing up…I thought we’d never get out of that cul-de-sac. I explained to the owner of the house that I was teaching him to drive. He nodded and says “Good Luck” with a knowing grin.