When Mr 16 initially obtained his driver’s permit in April this year I may have poured myself two drinks – one celebrating this significant rite of passage and the other as Dutch Courage, in preparation for one hundred learning hours on the road that lay ahead.
Between our house and his father’s, my beginning driver has access to a range of vehicles – automatic transmission, five on the floor, 4WD, AWD, take your pick, there’s something for everyone. He’ll be eligible to sit for his licence next April upon turning 17, but we all know how quickly that time will pass, don’t we, and it may as well be tomorrow it feels so close.
A stocktake of the current state of play is this: in just over half a year on his learner’s permit, he has completed marginally under half his required hours. Woohoo though for school holidays coming up because they will allow time for some professional lessons which are rewarded at triple road time. We’re getting there … and so far we’ve all been safe, which is what really matters. Rightly or wrongly though, I limit his time behind the wheel to those occasions when little Miss 4 is not a passenger. It’s not because he’s untrustworthy, far from it. This decision rests solely with the fact that Little Miss has the potential to steer even the most experienced driver towards distraction … Chatter … Chatter …. Non stop chatter.
What I do like knowing is, currently, all of his driving time is under supervision, and with the support, of an experienced adult. Kind of like the back up plan you never want to have to use.
But the ball game has changed, and there is now a new player on the field.
Enter best mate with a brand-spanking new P plate and his own car.
Oh, man! Yes, I knew it was one day bound to happen …. yes I knew it would be soon, but no, no, NO …. it was not meant to happen just yet. Luckily, I’ve known this lad for a few years now and he’s very sensible. I trust my boy in the car with his mate, but I’m telling you I was possibly a very uncool Mum last Friday afternoon. I asked to be taken for a drive around the block …. just to be sure, you know.
What I’m waffling on about here, is possibly not limited to car licences and road-time. Driving, and also the freedom that comes with being a passenger in a P-plater mate’s car, is merely symbolic of so much more growing up that’s actually going on. It’s an exciting time to share in and difficult to watch … all rolled into one.
If you’re in the same boat, how are you handling the transition into driver-hood?