Friday, February 20, 2009

Whitney Driving

As many of you know by now, Whitney is now a fully licensed driver. I had been dreading this for quite some time. This is not because she isn't a good driver. Far from it drives just like she does everything in her life.....with obsessive attention to detail and a desire for perfection. This made teaching her frustrating at times because she insisted on doing things over and over again until she did them perfectly.

But recent months had me pondering a question:

How in the heck does any parent give a 16 year old the car keys and let them go off alone without passing out from stress?????!!!!!!

Heredity plays a part in my concern. Our family has had some unique experiences driving. Her grandpa once broke his neck by flipping over in a car. He also somehow managed to roll off a cliff in a car.....while sleeping in the backseat. Her Aunt Laura hit Dad's truck in the driveway while backing out in another car, and got a ticket on the way to telling him about it. As I recall, this was the day she got her license. Do I have that correct?

I had my own bouts of stupidity. The biggest one was probably driving off a gravel road in Georgia in the middle of nowhere and somehow knocking not one, not two, but three tires off the rims. I am not sure what the record is for my making my father REALLY REALLY angry......but this might have been it. Of course part of that is I was not where I told them I was going to be.....a BIG no no. I followed that up by missing a stop sign and getting hit in the side just a few days before leaving Georgia. I wish I could claim it was all just reckless youth, but a few years ago I pulled another when I dropped a big gulp in my lap pulling out of the driveway and drove into my neighbor's mailbox.

I am sure there were other near misses where only the grace of God and good luck allowed me to escape. I am sure there were other stupid things I did that I got away with, but my memory has faded a bit. Well, that and I need to check if the statute of limitations has worn off.

Anyway.....back to Whitney:

We started slow just hours after she got her license. Since it is a "family tradition" (meaning my Dad did it to me), the first thing she did alone was run up to the nearest convenience store to fill up my car with gas. That went well (meaning neither Tracy or I ran down the street crying trying to grab the rear bumper as she drove away). Later that evening, we let her drive back and forth to her dance class across town. Tracy had her call when she got there, and when she left to come home. At least this way our moments of high stress were limited to the 15 minutes each way she was alone actually driving.

One night of parental worry down........a lifetime more to go.


Tracy said...

As we discussed, how did parents let their kids drive before cell phones? At least we know that if she got into trouble, she could call us right away.

And yes, for all of you out there, the discussion started a long time ago about if she was getting a car. The answer is no she isn't. But I'm sure she can borrow Dan's car and once she learns to drive a stick shift, she can borrow mine.

Laura said...

Yes, I did get a ticket. I ran home hysterical, sure dad was never going to let me drive again. He wasn't home when I got there and I needed to go to work, so I changed clothes, hopped in the car and pulled back.... right into dad's truck. But that was not the same day I got my license. I had had my license for a while by then. Dad was actually amazingly calm about the whole thing. I think he knew that he could never make me feel worse than I already felt. And, yes, he did let me continue driving.

Jmom said...

Dan, your exact to words were " I don't think the tires are flat dad, they are just not on the car". You had hit a ditch and popped three tires off of their rims. Thankfully neither one of you got hurt. You were punished more for being where you were told definitely NOT to go, not so much about the car.

Janet said...

Hey don't feel bad, I popped two tires off my probe shortly after I got my license. I was driving down the road and accidentally drove over a median curb outside QuikTrip. I also ran over a mailbox in David's Monte Carlo when he was teaching me to drive. I drove everywhere that day and was so proud of myself. Until we got home. Ugh! I pulled into the driveway and I almost took out the bush. So I backed up and David told me to brake. I got nervouse and hit the gas, everytime he said brake (which must of been about 10 times) I hit the gas harder. This whole time I was plowing down my neighbors fancy mailbox he had built. Needless to say I flooded the engine and was exjected from the vehicle when David reached over me opened the door and pushed me out of the car! I ran outside and only came out to appologize to the neighbor when David made me.
I guess this is another thing we can chalk up to the family gene's...LOL