Friday, May 09, 2008

Driving Miss Gracie: Teaching My Teen to Drive

Later this month I'll be doing a blog swap with a couple of my favorite bloggers--Janice from 5 Minutes for Mom and Gabrielle Blair from Design Mom. They're some of the best bloggers on the planet and you won't want to miss it.

I have here today as a bonus guest poster my husband Andrew who went through the terrifying process of submitting a guest post to Scribbit. I'm so glad he did because he's put into words what I couldn't . . . how Grace has been learning to drive.

***

Imagine yourself jogging on a school track. You’re enjoying the air, the cool outdoors and maybe a song on your iPod . . . when all of a sudden you look up and see a little six year-old girl on a bike heading straight toward you. She’s yelling “WATCH OUT!” at the top of her lungs, but there’s no negotiation. Either you move or she’ll plow into you with her bike.

That was my experience teaching Grace to ride a bike. She got good enough to peddle but not enough steer so I took her to the track to do laps for practice.

Fast forward eight years. Believe it or not in Alaska a fourteen year-old can get their learner’s permit. I think it has to do with all of the snow machines, four wheelers and dog mushers here though I don’t understand it myself. Grace’s friend Barrett recently turned fourteen and got his permit (he can barely see over the dashboard) but height restrictions be darned, if you’re fourteen and can pass the test you can drive.

So Grace, eager to be an adult, passed the test and now has a shiny new driver’s permit. Eager to be an adult she wants to learn how to drive. I enjoy my time with my daughter, so I thought it would be good to have some dad-daughter time and soon we were off to the school parking lot.

Fortunately I have a 1993 Ford Escort wagon with almost 130,000 miles on it which sets me a little at ease, I pity the parents with the brand new shiny cars. If you’re one of those people who use two parking spaces to park your car then you shouldn’t be teaching your child to drive in it. For me? No worries—or so I thought. There’s a lot more to driving a car than one remembers.

For example, there’s questions such as when should you let go of the key when you turn the ignition and do you give the car a little bit of gas? If you do, how much gas do you give it? Grace turned the key, put the pedal to the floor and didn’t let go of either. The sound of the ignition scratching and the rpms at their max didn’t set the mood.

When you turn corners do you let go of the gas, lightly touch it or hit the brakes? All of these things don’t come naturally and Grace’s choice was to let the car coast around the corner up over the curb. However, in spite of these couple of things she did a great job.

So here I am again as a parent just making things up as I go along. We had fun, we laughed, I got tense a few times but I’m learning how to be patient. It seems like yesterday that I was teaching her how to ride a bike. Now I’m teaching her how to drive a car. Eight years from now I could very well be at her wedding. For now I savor the moment.

Love you Grace.

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29 comments:

The Source said...

Wonderful post. We will be going through the same thing next month when our daughter turns 15...assuming she ever bothers to open the book and learn enough to try taking the written test.

Blessed said...

That is beautiful.

My dad took me to a cemetery to teach me how to drive AND he said that he took me there because if I ran over anyone they were already dead... I learned to drive and I didn't run over anyone, dead OR alive.

Stargirl37 said...

This was a very good read. I love the context of you post. I enjoyed reading it as if it was a good book.

Tammy said...

Oooh I had to laugh at this post! My dad taught me to drive...we went to the DMV, I passed my written test, and my dad handed me the keys to his stick-shift truck. Boy-oh-boy did we have fun! I managed to peel out at one stop sign, something my dad wasn't aware his truck could do! LOL There were a few times when my dad grabbed the steering wheel to save us both. Oh my! This post brought back a lot of memories--fun memories for me, but I'm sure memories my dad doesn't want to relive. LOL

Christie O. said...

how sweet! you sound much nicer and calmer than my dad who FREAKED OUT when I grinded the gears and left the transmission way behind us in my '87 Escort Pony trying to learn how to drive stick.

SuburbanCorrespondent said...

14! Remind me not to drive in Alaska.

I found that teaching my eldest to drive automatically aged me 16 years. Read all about it right here

SuburbanCorrespondent said...

Hey! I did that html thing again! I'm a pro!

Patty W said...

Great post!

I fear this moment in life! DD just turned 12, I've got a few years yet...I'm not so worried about the actual driving but she has NO sense of direction!

Jennifer said...

Thank God for driver's ed. My relationship with my parents would NOT have survived them teaching me to drive. Someone might have got run over.

tjhirst said...

Glad you braved it to write to us!
My daughter turned 14 yesterday and teaching her to drive was the topic of conversation. We should introduce the two. Apparently several of her friends are signed up for summer driving courses. Fortunately in Minnesota, the driver's permit comes at 15. Oh, and about the wedding, it could be a lot sooner than 8 years, you know . . .

Suzanne said...

We have a blended family that consists of 5 children...7 mos,8,15,16, and 17. The 2 oldest BOTH just got their license in March. Although I worry about them driving alone, I will admit, I enjoy that they can run pick up a gallon of milk when needed!

chelle said...

hehe When I was growing up (not sure it has changed or not) in ALberta Canada one could get their learners permit at 14.

How fun and what a milestone...driving!

Cocoa said...

Brings back memories of my own driving experience. My children are growing up differently though. Living on a farm has its advantages after all. They get to drive when they are eight.

John & Laura said...

That post made me teary-eyed! (The tears might have had a little bit to do with the fact that I'm really, REALLY pregnant, so everything makes me cry, but it was still sweet!) And I am so not looking forward to teaching my kids to drive!

G's Cottage said...

That is such a sweet post.

As a survivor of 4 teach the teen to drive installments I can say with some authority that "you ain't seen nothin' yet."

The opening collision scene about the bike reminded me of being in the car with teen number one on one of the first street ventures. This was a 3 by 6 lane multi-light intersection which was yellow to red with us barely into the first cross lane and five to go. He started to brake and I yelled "just gun it!" A block later he pulled over and parked and very quietly said "mom you really scared me back there." I just matter-of-factly replied "we're even."

ariel said...

lol. I thought this post was great. The part about driving over the curb reminded me of when my mom was first teaching me how to drive. I pulled out onto Hillcrest Ave and as I crested the hill I stopped at the stop sign. And proceeded to panic. Because, not only did I have to pull out from a hill, I also had to turn right! So I did. And proceeded to go up onto the curb, which scared me and so I slammed on the brakes. And.... stayed right where I was... right on the curb. My mom busted out laughing and reminds me about it all the time. Mind, that was 5 years ago...

I also have to say G's Cottage's comment made me bust out laughing.

Chief Family Officer said...

Awww! I'm just in awe that your husband and daughter each agreed to this arrangement. There was no way that I was going to learn how to drive from my dad - and I think he felt the same way!

luckyzmom said...

Our daughter claimed she didn't need us to teach her to drive because she had learned how in a dream! Actually, we learned many years later that she had been driving with a friend who wasn't very well supervised. We sent her to Drivers' Ed where she excelled, anyway. Great post and good luck!

Cagey said...

Here in Kansas we get learner's permits at 14 (farmers need their kids to be able to drive farm equipment and trucks). Everyone in my small town drove around like normal at 14, even though technically, you were only allowed to drive to school or work if an adult was not in the car.

My mom began to teach me a few months BEFORE my birthday so that I would be ready to cart everyone around exactly when I turned 14. She taught me to drive a stickshift on gravel roads.

Daisy said...

Oh, the memories! I taught our daughter to drive. My husband was too tense. Now she's 21 and a very responsible driver, and we're relieved. She doesn't own a car yet, thankfully, and won't have the outrageous gas prices to deal with -- yet.

Laura said...

we have survived teaching two kids how to drive so far....kid #2 just got her license last week. now #3 is eagerly waiting followed by #4 and #5. oh the joys! good luck to your daughter and you!

Knitty Geek said...

I feel your pain. In Delaware, kids get their learner's permits after their 16th birthday AND when they've graduated from Driver's Ed. My daughter's school is a little behind on getting the kids on the road so she had to wait until 6 months after her 16th to do the driving practice part of Driver's Ed. She got her permit on Wednesday. We let her drive home from DMV. It was tense and very, very funny.

I guess it's our fault - no new driver should be saddled with two parents on a freshly-made permit. That is just plain unfair.

Patti said...

Teaching my son to drive was quite an experience. I remember the whole "how much gas do you give going around a corner" as we almost took out 3 mailboxes on a cul-de-sac. I acutally thought a cul-de-sac was a safe place to pratice!

Rhonda said...

Smiling big on this one. My husband and I secretly argue over WHO is going to drive my Ana. So, we came to an agreement. I take her driving 4 - 6 hours a week and he picks up our HS girls from early morning religion (held in our church) and takes them to their HS!

all over the map said...

What an experience. It brought me back to the days of my mom teaching me on our vw bug, stick shift to boot! I also drove up a curb after turning.
Here's the silver lining Andrew. I turned out to be a pretty good driver, if I don't say so myself. Not a single moving violation ever and I've been driving for nearly 24 years. :)

Rebecca said...

Thanks for the post! That brings back memories of my first time driving with my parents. It was pretty scary! When I drove with my mom the first time, we both said we've never do that again when we got home! :)

Rebecca
My Adventures in History

Janice said...

oh my gosh - I remwmber the arguments that my mom and I got in when she taught me how to drive. Oh my - I am not looking forward to teaching my kids. Fortunately you have to be 16 here. I can't IMAGINE 14!!!!

FABULOUS post btw - great guest poster. I don't think my hubby will be guest posting on my blog any day soon. LOL

Online Traffic School said...

Hi,

Great experience. And Sure, It brought me back to my days. My dad took me special care to drive. I never forgot those days. Then after I learned so many things in the driving. Really it helps a lot.

- Messy.

Learners Permit said...

Brings back memories of my own driving experience. My children are growing up differently though. Living on a farm has its advantages after all. They get to drive when they are eight.