In the passenger seat
posted by: Guest Blogger
We nod at each other. It’s more than a greeting. It’s acknowledgment. We’re in this together.
We’re Passenger Seat Parents.
I put off letting my teen-aged son get his learner’s permit for as long as I could. But I finally grew weary of his constant reminders of how, you know, unfair it was when everyone else was allowed to drive. Personally, I wanted to keep him off the roads for many more years (I am not sure if it was for his protection or yours), but when he bought his own car, I knew it was time. He was, after all, almost 17 years old.
Because Colorado law dictates that teenage drivers must hold a learner’s permit for one year and one day, as well as keep track of 50 hours of driving time, my son never failed to nag me about how he’d be almost 18 if we didn’t hurry. So we went, he tested, and he passed. He only missed one question. And don’t worry, it’s only the one where he could possibly slam into the backend of your car because he didn’t know how many feet he should stay away from you. (Feel better?)
And, thus, I became a Passenger Seat Parent.
The ride home included such stimulating conversation as “Slow down!” and “Oh, please don’t crash!” and “Why didn’t I let you get your license in Georgia before we moved to the mountains?”
Needless to say, it was slightly frightening.
But months have passed, and conversation has changed. Now it’s more like, “So, tell me about your –don’t hit that car! — college plans and who’s wooing you now. Did that one in Ohio –slow down, slow down!– respond to your –please for all that is holy don’t get so close to other cars! — application yet?”
See? I’ve managed to blend the nag in between real conversation. I’m proud, to say the least.
Of course, the downside to sitting shotgun to your kid driver is when you’re NOT. As in, when you’re a passenger in someone else’s car. The whole “slow down, slow down!” thing doesn’t go over so well with, say, your husband, your neighbor, or your boss….
So, let’s hear it: your glorious experiences with your teen-aged driver. Or better yet, your own recollections of learning to drive.
More of Angela’s writings can be found at her blog, Angela Klocke Giles.