As a parent, I have learned to never say never.
My child will never wear a bikini. My child will never have a smartphone before high school. My child will never listen to music with a warning label on it.
I believed all of those statements, and more, when my children were innocent toddlers. As they grew, and the world changed around us, I realized I also had to change. The bathing suits were easy – both of my girls are modest. The smartphone truly was a necessity as schedules got busier. And the music, which I hear every morning, is a chance to talk about what the lyrics really mean.
Driving a junker…or a brand new car?
One thing that I am certain of, at least for now, is that my new driver does not need her own car.
When I learned to drive, back in Ye Olden Days, no one had their own car. My classmates and I were lucky to borrow the family car on occasion. About the only kids who had their own vehicles were the farm kids who drove themselves to school – and they drove junkers. Most of us took the bus or walked. Few had a car to call their own, let alone a nice one.
I didn’t have my own car until I graduated from college. Even then, it was a bare-bones model. It didn’t have a radio. It didn’t have power windows or locks. It didn’t have air conditioning, which was not very fun during my first job in the Deep South. It didn’t have floor mats. I was lucky I didn’t have to pedal. It was mine, though, paid for through summer jobs. And I adored that little Flintstone car for years.
Now it seems car keys come with a new license for many students. I am astonished at the vehicles some teenagers are driving. Many are the typical used cars, or hand me downs from parents who got new ones. A few, however, make me wish the family would adopt me. One of my daughter’s classmate was presented a 2016 Jeep Grand Cherokee the day she passed her road test. When my daughter told me that, I nearly lost control of my own 9-year-old car.
For now, my family has the flexibility of sharing two cars among three licensed drivers. My oldest will be driving herself to school most days next year – yet another “never” that now seems reasonable after two long years spent in the school pickup line. My husband and I will share one car for most of the day, and the three of us will negotiate car use for after school activities and job schedules.
At some point in the future, she will have her own car, whether it is handed down or bought with her own money. One thing, however, won’t change. I will still worry when I see her pull out of the garage and drive off by herself.
When will I stop worrying? Never.