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Safely letting go

August 21, 2009

My third child just got his driver’s license. Three of my children are now completely in control of their own destiny on the mean streets of Atlanta (or Lawrenceville, Buford..).

When my oldest son got behind the wheel for his first solo ride, I was proud and frightened. As I imagine all mothers are, in that moment. And every day I would say to him on his way out the door, “Drive safe.” And he would roll his eyes and grumble something like “Yah, yah… I always am.” ‘Cause you know they know everything about driving when they are 17, right? I was persistent, however. I reminded him every day. Even the day that he over-corrected and went off the road, taking down a telephone pole, on his way to work.
Thankfully, he was not seriously hurt, and I’m sure he learn something from the experience. I know I did.
With our son, Nick — the newest of drivers in the family — we discovered a program that I highly recommend for parents called Fear this 4 Life. Nick was not thrilled to be spending an entire Saturday (with his father) learning defensive driving skills, but he knew it was important to us.

When he got home from his day of training he couldn’t stop talking about it. And when he got in the car the next day, he was more confident in his ability to maneuver the road.

I am a worrier. Always have been; always will be. But all we can do, as parents, is provide the tools they need to make it on their own. I don’t let go easily, I’ll tell you that. But I’m learning. I guess I don’t have a choice, do I? If only the doctors would have provided me with this information – about how these tiny bundles would one day want to ride bikes in the street and drive vehicles without you by their side –I may have been better equipped (and by equipped, I mean a fully-stocked supply of Xanax.)
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