A New Teenage Driver Gets Her License

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Our teenage daughter wants to get her driver’s license. Now what?
Hold on. She’s not old enough. Why, just last year I was coaching her 6th grade basketball team. But then my wife reminds me that it was four years ago when I was her coach and she’s now a sophomore in High School. In fact, she’ll be 16 in less than six months.

OK. Fine. Maybe I can convince here to wait until she’s 18 to get her temporary license and then perhaps after graduating college she can get her permanent license. Seems like a perfect plan until she comes in the door one day with my wife, beaming with excitement holding something in the air. It must be her latest report card.

“Dad! Dad! Look at this,” she says. “I have my temps. I’m going to be driving.” I smile at her because I don’t want to take away any of her exuberance. “That’s great, honey,” as I walk in another room trying to compose myself. It will be all right. Heck, she’ll practice for a few months and probably only drive very short distances for a while.

From the other room, I hear her telling my wife,” I can’t wait to drive to California this summer. It will be so cool being able to drive across the country.” It was time for me to take my blood pressure medicine. Oh, that’s right. I don’t take blood pressure medication. Well, this might be a good time to start.

A few weeks later, on a Saturday afternoon while I was watching one of Miami University’s rare TV appearances, my daughter, after driving all week with my wife, asks if I can take her to a friend’s house. Sure. It’s only a mile way and I’ll only miss a few minutes of the game.

Moments, later, as I walk out to the car, I notice something out of place. My daughter is sitting in the driver’s seat, not the passenger side. OK. I’m sure there’s an explanation. Maybe she just wants to get the feel of holding the steering wheel. Surely, she’s not going to drive. Is she?

“Get in Dad,” she says. “I’m driving. Just relax and enjoy the ride.” OK. I’ll relax. No. I won’t. We’re actually moving. Down the driveway we go and in a matter of minutes we’re be on a road with other cars. Before I have time to panic, we’re going about 11 miles per hour in a 35 mph zone. I tell her that we can speed up a bit. And we do. All the way to 12 miles per hour. I want her to drive slowly but I also want to get home before football season ends.

So the driving is coming along nicely and although I can’t fathom the thought of my little girl driving…I know I can’t fight destiny. But I can still maintain some control. It’s my car and I’ll be driving it most of the time.

Or so I thought, until my daughter asked where the keys to “her car” was. Say what? I reminded her that I was the one that paid for the car, the car insurance premium
, the gas and any repairs. Somehow that got lost in the translation because she just gave me a hug and said, “that’s nice of you Dad. I figured I would have to at least pay for the gas.”

She passed her driving exam with flying colors and now she has her license. I’m OK with that. She’s actually a pretty good driver. She keeps her eyes on the road and stays under the speed limit. I’m very comfortable with her driving me different places.

In fact, right now, I’m relaxing on the couch, watching one of my favorite Seinfeld reruns. This episode, I have seen only 12 times. I am curious, however, where our daughter is, because my…ugh, I mean, her car isn’t in the driveway.

I ask my wife where our daughter went. “Oh honey,” she said. “She said something about driving to LA. She’ll be back before you know it.”
“LA?” I say. “That’s it. I didn’t think she was serious about driving to California. I’m going outside to pace for a few days. And please get my blood pressure pills. I really need them.”
“Settle down,” my wife says. “LA” is just a store in the mall. And remember…you don’t take any medications.”

“Oh yea?” I say. “Maybe this would be a good time to start. I think right now I’ll drive to the doctor’s office to see about getting a prescription.”

“No you won’t,” my wife says. “Remember…you don't have a car any more.”

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