First off-- It just makes me feel SO OLD! I don't really love all these "series of firsts" that you have to go through with your oldest child. You are constantly questioning yourself and your judgement. You want to give them a little freedom and start trusting them, but then at the same time you are pulling back so hard on the reins.
Sometimes I think her driving skills are lacking. She can be a bit of a dig-bat-driver. She says she does better when I am not in the car. I DO have some wicked-awesome back seat driving skills. But, in my defense, she can sometimes make some stupid mistakes in the car. I worry about her, and those on the road (and possible the sidewalk). :) For example--driving, seeing a friend walking, honking and waving, meanwhile steering over into the left lane. What the crap?!
My insurance just DOUBLED due to the fact that she is a teen driver. Lovely.
I get a lot of "chat time" with her in the car. That is probably the time when she tells me most about her school day, friends, etc. I think I will miss out on some of that when she is driving herself to and from school. (Even though we are only 1 mile from the school). It seems like when kids hop in the car after school they usually have a lot to say.
I know that it will make things a little easier having another driver around here. But, also make it harder because of the stress involved...worrying. It is definitely going to take me some time. Heaven help me!! (As my friends Mike and Tai or John might say, "This is either going to get easier or a lot harder". So profound.)
We thought that her drive was going to take a certain route and had practiced it several times throughout the last 9 months. When she was told to turn a different way, I think her mind went blank. She pulled out and started driving with the emergency break on.
When she was asked if she forgot to release the emergency break, she started to unravel a little bit. She pulled over and started running her fingers through her hair and I could see in the mirror that she was starting to tear up. She shed a few tears and the instructor (who we know well) told her to take a deep breath and just relax. She explained that more mistakes are made when a student driver is way too nervous.
After Riley calmed down a bit, she pulled out and did great. In order for me to ride along, I could not say a word about the drive or coach her in any way. At one point, I almost had to physically hold my hands over my mouth. She was asked to turn onto the interstate during 5:00 traffic. There were SEVERAL cars getting onto the interstate and Riley had a yield sign. She was trying to decide when it was safe to merge on, and I was in the back seat about to die. I wanted so bad to let her know that it was not safe to proceed. She eventually merged into the traffic and ended up cutting a driver off a bit. Luckily, no accidents, no horns being honked in our direction, no one flipped us off, and I did not say a PEEP! If I would have coached her in ANYWAY, it would have been an automatic fail. Initially, I had decided I wasn't going to go (just because I knew of this rule), but Riley wanted me to.
At the end of the drive she was told that she passed. She was so excited and relieved. When the instructor got out of the car, Riley started to cry again. I think she was so glad that was over that she just had to shed a few tears. Funny girl!
The day after the driving test, we went to the DMV for her to take the written test. She passed with flying colors. When she came around the corner after the test, she had a great big smile on her face and bright red cheeks.
So, if you see my van cut you off or driving a little erratic, be patient...it may be my little student driver.