Why You Won’t See the Traditional “Drivers Permit” Picture on my Daughters 16th Birthday..
Two days before my daughter wakes up a 16 year old, I sit here thinking that maybe I should be planning something more? Where is the “big gift”? Why have I not planned a super “sweet 16”? I guess the truth of it is, she hasn’t asked for a thing, and has declared for months she didn’t want a party making fuss over just another Birthday. Ironic from the girl who had epic celebrations at almost every year leading up to this historically celebrated. “Sweet 16.”
One thing she has been pushing me on for months now, as all of her classmates are already in pursuit of — — is the much awaited drivers permit. I’ve seen it going down for months on social media. The token 16th “DMV Birthday photo” of 16 years olds hours into their Birthday holding that coveted Drivers Permit. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not passing judgment at all, in a weird way as I see these pictures of kids I’ve watched grow up alongside my own daughter and I feel happy for them. Proud of them and who they’ve become, and shocked at how grown up they look. But for my daughter, it’s a whole different picture. All I see is a chubby cheeked girl with pigtail braids, buckle shoes and matching tights and headbands.
But the real reason you won’t see the token DMV picture of my daughter this August 31st has nothing to do with my inability to see her “old enough” “mature enough” or ready to be behind a wheel. Quite frankly she probably is all those things. The real reason is that I’m not ready to let go of carting her all over god’s green earth just yet. Yep, you heard it. I WANT to drive her to school every morning. I want to pick her up from practice in the middle of dinner hour. I want to drive her to 7 am practices and games on the weekend. I want to cart her to Syracuse three nights a week for Soccer. As a matter of fact, my husband who I used to gladly “share” the driving duties with in years past, has been released from doing any of the drop offs or pickups when my almost 16 year old in involved.
Some of you may know where I’m going with this, but if you still don’t then stay with me here. You see my once chubby cheeked, braided pig-tailed girl who would sit for hours with me in the kitchen or on the porch talking about everything and anything in now a teenager. She’s a crazy busy teenage girl, whom I’m glad for, but nonetheless one with BFF’s for life, teammates who live out of town, accelerated studies, and god help me her first boyfriend. So guess when Mom and daughter time is? You guessed it — -in the car.
If you don’t have a teenager yet, then I know that this sound outlandish right? Believe me — the things I learn while in the car from my teenage daughter — in between of course — -mini-jam sessions of today’s god awful top 40 songs that I pretend to like and am embarrassed to say I know the words to.
It is in the car, if even for 10 minutes on the way to school that I learn and connect and have the best exchanges some days with my soon-to-be (permit-less) 16 year old. This is where I find out about the important test she’s stressed about. The teachers she loves and loves not so much. I learn about the social plans for the weekend. I learn about the parties gone bad last weekend. I learn about the friends, the team, the coach, the boyfriend. I learn what she wants for dinner. I learn that she’s out of her favorite conditioner (this will save us from epic hair disaster the next morning). I learn it all I tell you- the little things and the big. Things she just wouldn’t say when on a mad dash for her bedroom to do homework, get in the shower, text her friends, check in on social media, or just go to sleep out of sheer exhaustion. In the car, she’s mine. I can drive as slow as I want, hit every red light if I time it just right, or even go the scenic route if there something specific I need to talk about. I’m telling you, I can ask questions and 99 percent of the time get an answer on the spot.
So this is the reason you won’t see the DMV permit picture of my daughter on her 16th Birthday. Selfishly it’s not about her, and all about me. I’m just not ready to relinquish the time I have her all to myself. It will come. I know it has to come. And yes I know that it’s skill she must have. I know that it might be nice for her to help run her three brothers around. I know she’s mature enough. I know all these things.
For now I’m just going to absorb the fact that I have a 16 year old. I can hear it now, and I’m sure it will come on hard after August 31st, “all my friends are doing it” and to this I will eventually give in. Maybe after winter — — LOL. But for now, I’m keeping my title as taxi-mom, and rocking to the top 40’s in this mini-van I’m doing time in. I’ve had this driving gig for 16 years and I’m not ready to retire. See you on the road my friends.