The Princess is driving. Like, an actual car. On the roads. And she’s good!
Although I can’t believe she’s old enough to do this, I’ve been looking forward to this for months. I’m not sure why. I’m pretty cautious when it comes to safety. For the past year, I’ve been telling her that allowing her to get behind the wheel of a car is the equivalent of giving her access to a lethal weapon and allowing her to use it. I’ve talked about why driving is dangerous, why she can’t drive with other people and why other people can’t drive with her.
Being the Princess, we’ve also had multiple discussions, initiated by her, about why she has to drive my husband’s old car, which she thinks is ugly, rather than get a brand new car. His car is safe and she’s not getting a brand new car. End of story. But she keeps trying. She’s nothing if not persistent.
As the date of her birthday got closer, she started getting more nervous about driving. I think that’s great. I want her to be nervous. I want her to realize the awesome responsibility being handed to her and not take it lightly. But some of her friends are terrified of driving and are refusing to learn. Fear feeds on itself, and after trying unsuccessfully to get her to call the driving school, I made the arrangements myself. She needs to learn now and she needs to learn before everyone else’s fear takes over.
She pulled into the driveway after that first lesson and I cried. I was hiding by the front window because I wanted to get pictures of her driving and had been told I wasn’t allowed to take any photos of her behind the wheel. But I did want to get evidence. Plus, since the car wasn’t dented, I decided that photographing it wouldn’t be a bad thing. But when she pulled into the driveway, I had visions of my six-month old baby sitting on a blanket on the grass in the sun and I cried.
She’s now finished her six hours of lessons—as a kid, that seemed like an endless amount of time; as a parent, holy cow, they think she’s ready to drive???—and we’re now practicing together. To quote her, she hasn’t killed anyone yet. The car is still in one piece and I haven’t had a heart attack.
Although she currently seems to take after her mother in her parking abilities (straight on, not parallel—she’s amazing at parallel parking, go figure) and her directional sense, I’m hoping those are temporary glitches that will disappear with time. She’s actually quite good with the rest of it—she looks around and past the hood of the car, she basically stays in the center of her lane and she turns pretty well.
She needs practice, but I think we’re going to be okay. If only I could stop seeing this when she drives: