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Driving Miss Crazy

Top of the list of stressful family situations must be teaching your teenagers to drive. Five months after Rockstar passed his test I progressed to the stage where he could leave the house without me becoming hysterical at the thought of never seeing him again. Of course I still had to remind him to fasten his seat belt, stay within the speed limit, not use his cell phone, not have the music too loud ("but Mom it helps me concentrate") and BE CAREFUL. Having suffered through a year of driving lessons with his mother, Rockstar now has a better understanding of why his father wants to kill me every time we go on a road trip. 

By the time son # 1 has graduated to the Mom Trusts Me in the Car level it is time for me to repeat the whole process with son # 2. Genius took up the challenge to have his mother institutionalized with great gusto. He was enrolled in Advanced Psychology that semester so every time he got behind the wheel I had to suffer a running commentary on all the mistakes the other drivers were making plus a lecture on various psychological disorders and how cognitive mapping is affected by stress. I wish I could say I had learned something but I couldn't focus due to being gripped by abject terror every time we approached a four way stop and he didn't appear to be braking. 

I made both boys drive for 18 months before taking their tests and Genius drove every single day of his 18 months. By the time he was let loose I was a gibbering wreck. Apparently you are supposed to stay awake until your teen driver returns to base so that you can keep tabs on what they're getting up to. How ridiculous, I go to bed at 8.30, the boys haven't even left at that point never mind come home. I trained myself not to worry when they forgot to call and gradually as time passed without incident my confidence in their driving abilities increased. However their patience level with my constant nagging advice did not.

Let me just clarify something here, I am a TERRIBLE passenger. I admit it, even though I don't like being the driver I hate not being the driver even more. My husband and I rarely argue but the harmonious state we have created in the home does not extend to the car. I don't understand how two people can get into a vehicle madly in love and emerge from it 25 minutes later with one of them speed dialing the lawyer and the other one grappling in the glove compartment for a suitable weapon. I guess the combination of a driver who aspires to the formula one circuit with a partially blind neurotic wife (who is paranoid about road safety) riding shotgun, is a recipe for disaster. It didn't take us long to decide that despite the fact that we live together and work for the same company we would be a lot happier if we did the daily commute separately. 

Four years on my sons still have to tolerate my "WATCH THAT CAR" panics when they have the misfortune to be be driving me anywhere; but I've noticed during my Mom's annual visits that she is just as nervous when I'm driving her as I am with my kids driving me. So there you are boys, it's Granny's fault and no doubt in years to come you will be barking the same manic commands to your little darlings.

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March 16, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterkames

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