The simultaneous milestones of teens and parents

I just watched my 17 year old son pull out of the driveway to take himself, by himself, to a golf course.

Parents are often hyper-aware of their children’s milestones, especially in the early years, but really, the milestones keep happening even when we stop taking photographic evidence. And the teen years, when kids have a natural urge to step away from the parental embrace, are full of such milestones.

Not all of them are victorious. Some milestones are about failures or uncomfortable lessons, all of which bring volatile emotional impact on both the kids and their parents.

When my son turned 16 we were deep in lockdown after lockdown. He wrote his written test immediately after his birthday and did fine. Practicing driving took a little bit of time but was mostly directed by me, not his dad. I wanted it that way, especially after I moved out. It was our way to stay connected.

It took another year for him to take the driving test, because naturally the continuous lockdowns in this province caused both staff shortages and backlogs.

My boy has his licence now, but he and I continue to drive together. He still needs a bit more practice on the highway, especially the merging on and off short ramps, but he’s basically ready to manage on his own.

Today, he’s driving outside of his neighbourhood and on city streets to the golf course about a half hour away.

It’s a big milestone, for him and for parents.

Im fine. I’m not nervous. I’m quietly excited, particularly because I was here, at the kids’ house, able to witness the event of him packing the car with his equipment and pulling out of the driveway on his own. I don’t spend a lot of time here at this house, which makes it extra special.

My daughter announced the other day that among her girl tribe, she is the only one interested in obtaining her driver’s licence as soon as she turns 16. That’s a year and a half away, but I get the impression she’s looking forward to it. She declared herself the designated driver for her friends already, making me wonder where these young people are planning on going with cars they neither own nor likely are able to finance full tanks for… 😀

So, as I sit here waiting for said daughter to wake up and get ready for our appointment, I type about my son, wondering simultaneously how he’s doing out there in the morning traffic.

Thank you for reading my post. 💖

15 thoughts on “The simultaneous milestones of teens and parents

  1. This is great! It’s an important milestone when a kid starts driving. Unfortunately, my dad didn’t let me get my driver’s license until I was 22, and I got married right after that, and now my husband won’t let me drive (he thinks women shouldn’t drive, plus since in Lebanon nobody abides by traffic laws and everyone drives like a madman, he fears I might get into an accident. This fear is not for my safety but rather because he doesn’t want to have to pay for the car fixing (we don’t have insurance) and he doesn’t want me to inconvenience him if I get into a car accident while he is at work. He seems to be convinced that I will get into an accident and I keep trying to convince him (in my religion, a woman must obey her husband) but he said as long as he is alive, he won’t let me drive. However, I’m hoping when he gets too old, I’ll be able to take over (he is 18 years older than me)).

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I appreciate very much the cultural differences you explain to us in the comments. It makes me sad that things are so one-sided, though, which I recognize is a western view point. Thank you for sharing your thoughts and reflections.

      Interesting you don’t require insurance to drive. Here in Canada you can’t get a licence without proof of insurance. My son is a minor (under 18) and not an owner of a car but can be added to his parents’ insurance as an occasional driver. The cost of my and his dad’s insurance increases slightly for this privilege.

      I hope you get an opportunity to drive one day.

      Like

  2. Congrats to your son! I now have a legal adult child, so it’s been a little weird having to off board some of my parental responsibilities, and they’re not as excited about entering adulthood as they were at 16. Then again, who would’ve ever thought a pandemic would put a tailspin on everyone’s livelihood? I keep reminding myself, that despite my worries, my kids will be alright. 🤞🏿🤞🏿

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I think you’re right. We get sucked in to the kids’ emotional upheaval because we can’t help ourselves, but deep down we know they’ll be fine. Thank you for this comment, I feel better. 🙂

      Like

  3. I remember taking my daughter to an empty shopping mall parking lot so she could learn the different driving techniques she’s need: slowing down, stopping, turning, accelerating, parking, backing up. She’s now a very good driver. We’ve been talking to her 15 year old twins about doing the same thing with them. The girl is all for it, while the boy lacks confidence. Soon they’ll be getting their learner’s permits and a new generation will start driving. Exciting and scary stuff, all rolled into one!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I remember each one of my children learning to drive as if it was yesterday. It’s such a big step in their independence but also their confidence, decision making, and ability to procure their dreams. Well at least the ones in a twenty mile radius. Congrats mom, you didn’t go running down the street to check on his seatbelt! Baby steps. Hugs, C

    Liked by 2 people

  5. I still maintain my most triumphant moment as a parent was watching my children drive away by themselves for the first time. Finally I got my own freedom back!

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  6. Daughter has a phobia about cars. She got freaked out even as a toddler🤷🏼‍♀️ Past life trauma?? She still doesn’t have a license. I made younger wait til they were 18 cuz I couldn’t afford the driving school required for 16-18 year olds. They failed the 1st written (so did I on a retake 30 years after my original 😂😂) aced the driving test after passing the written after actually studying the booklet (🤦🏼‍♀️me too😂)

    They got into an accident that almost totaled my new car 3 months after I bought it🤦🏼‍♀️ Maybe I’m a horrible person, but I used to worry more about the car than the child😂😂 I knew I couldn’t control anything, and had already come to terms with the child having to walk their own path in life🤷🏼‍♀️

    The child is Adulting very well, I’m proud to say (write). Both children continue to have milestones… I guess we ALL do. Turning 50 was a milestone for me. Not a good one OR a bad one… jsut kinda hard to wrap my head around.

    Congrats to your soon to be Man child, and maybe start hinting to the girl child if she’s gonna be the driver, she should figure out how much to charge her riders for gas, cuz Mom & Dad arent paying for joyriding 😂😂

    Liked by 2 people

  7. I don’t remember the exact feelings watching each kid drive off alone for the first time, although I know it got easier with each one. Congratulations to son, and mom. And Happy Birthday Tucker!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. I was just talking to someone about how the time between my son sitting in his car seat, asking if his legs were long enough to reach the pedals to the time he first asked for car keys felt like a milli-second….congratulations to your son and to you!❤️

    Liked by 1 person

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