I did not drive my girls to school today. They did not take a bus or catch a ride from a friend. Together, my 16-year old and 15-year old took off on their own without so much as a glance backward. The tears that welled up in my eyes were ones of joy, sadness and fear all at the same time.
When I was in my twenties I had a friend whose mom always cried when saying goodbye to her daughter. I didn’t get it back then – I get it now.
I know you understand. Sure, I’m relieved not to be their underappreciated chauffeur anymore, but sad that those days are behind me. My 15-year old made it clear that I’m out as her go-to ride and her sister is in. Not to worry my sweet darling – I realize that it’s much cooler to be driven around by your teen driver sister than by your annoying mother. Lucky they are close and my oldest isn’t opposed to carting her little sister around on her every whim.
It’s OK, I was once that little sister too. Back then I was well aware that I had a jump on my future via the independence of my sibling. The freedom, the control the excitement of being a teen driver is, in many ways, unparalleled.
But what about the constant worry? My fear for their safety tightens my chest in a such a dramatic way, I have to remind myself to breathe.
But it’s all good, right? Every little milestone these kids reach is a notch on our belt of parenthood. Good things are happening – they are growing, they are maturing, they are becoming adults. Good God, it’s hard to believe.
One more thing
To add to the thrill of our teen driver passing her driving test, that same day we attended her first official college tour. She loved it, we loved it and, together, we took one more step toward an inevitable empty nest.
This is a crazy time in life. Weirdly, I kind of like it.