If you haven't any charity in your heart, you have the worst kind of heart trouble. ~Bob Hope

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Driving Miss Jenny

Behind the Wheel at Disney 2006
My daughter turned 16 a few weeks ago. She has had her permit since the day she could get it at 15 1/2. She drove a short part of the way home that day, and then not again until a few weeks ago... ostensibly because I yelled at her. To be fair, it wasn't yelling it was the kind of panic that happens when you are a passenger in a car that seems like it's about to hit a parked car.

We have graduated driving rules here in Ohio. It means that ya can't just rush through classes and get out on the road and wreak total havok anymore. Permit at 15 1/2, lessons with a lot of classroom and lesser amount of on the road training, and 50-hours of additional driving. Sure, it's a safe bet that there are parents out there who probably just sign away the affidavit much the same way people blindly sign their financial responsibility when they renew their tags but that's irrelevant to this story.

We have logged a quite a bit of time over the last couple of weeks. It helps too that she now volunteers to drive places. Fifty hours though it's still a ways off. It seems almost unattainable and I am just the passenger. As a matter of fact, I think if you really did the math, factoring school and parental schedules and sibling conflicts, it seems like it would take a year to get all those hours in.

We drove last night for an hour or so. As her skill gets better it is quite a bit more like joyriding and less like work. No more white-knuckling...and she's pretty relaxed now too. I do sort of enjoy being driven around like this. Sure, I drive around alone and with my husband but there is something different about driving around with my daughter.

Some of it I think is the wonderment, the world that opens up. I find myself having some of the same feelings during this driving experience that I did when she was younger and their were all those skills being learned and mastered in rapid fire. The curiosity of it all. Where does this go? What does this mean? How long has that been there? Exploring new worlds together, on purpose for the first time in years.

We have miles to go still, and I'm just going to enjoy the ride.


  1. Oh my word, I dont even wont to think about driving yet, but my oldest son will be 16 next year and oh my, at least I know that he can drive a tractor to mow the lawn with no problem, not sure about a car. Great post.

  2. Ya know what? I'm jealous! Son #2 didn't even bother to get his permit until he was 16, and here we are months later, he hasn't signed up for behind the wheel yet, he's only practiced 3 times! AHHHH! I'm ready to kill him! I told him yesterday, sign up for behind the wheel NOW...get a job NOW...or I will never, EVER give you another dollar for lunch or drive your lazy butt anywhere!


  3. It's funny, in Spain, where I grew up, we didn't have learner's permits.... I learned to drive by taking my Aunt's car and driving to and from Jerez at about 14. I assumed I was a good driver until I came back to the US and had to take a test.... I nearly failed the written, and the guy that gave me the driving test made me cry!!! I think I missed out on being 16!