Thrill-Seeking Co-Pilot Looking for New Opportunities

My heart raced as we rounded the corner and nearly collided with a skater.  Dodging cars left and right, we swerved and continued down the middle of the street as bystanders looked on anxiously.  First  we nearly back-ended one car, and then had another tailing us with a space a little bigger than a playing card.  It’s a crazy life, but it’s my job.

Am I a stuntwoman?  A Nascar driver?  No, I’m just a parent instructor putting my life in the hands of a 15-year-old with a learner’s permit.

The first two times around, I outsourced the responsibility of teaching my kids to drive to a local driving school.  Every week I dropped them off for class or behind-the-wheel training and went out for a leisurely trip to the bookstore or the mall.  I did supplement with practice drives and tried to make it challenging. I purposely chose a neighborhood with plenty of stray dogs, elderly ladies crossing the road and kids playing ball so that we could test both skill and brakes.

This time, we opted for the online parent-taught program because it was flexible, practice time was scarce and the price was right.  But the risk/reward ratio was also pretty high and my nerves and vocal cords were shot at the end of each driving session.  I’m sure I’ve shouted more than a few expletives that have conveniently slipped from my memory, and I’ve probably also permanently damaged my daughter’s self esteem.

Daughter #3 turns 16 tomorrow and the end of an era is over.  We’ve made an appointment at the DPS for a driving test and I’m pretty sure she’ll pass with flying colors.  No more “Student Driver” sign in the back window to encourage fellow drivers to honk in exasperation or avoid our car, no more sudden stops on yellow lights or nighttime highway terror.  Insecurity has been replaced by confidence and she’ll go through one of the few rites of passage we have left – getting a real license.

It’s the last time around for me and I’m not applying for driving instructor jobs anytime soon.  But I’ll miss the thrill of the road with a new driver behind the wheel.


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