My sixteen-year-old tested for her driver’s license on Friday, the last big hurrah of her junior year spring break. Not surprisingly, she passed with flying colors. She’s spent a ton of time on the road with her mom as coach (I’m a little too “instruct-y” for her comfort level) and was fully ready for it. The instructors only note? Little Luna needed to make sure she kept up with the speed limit.
In other words, she was too cautious and drove a little slower than necessary.
She nailed everything else.
Can I tell you how happy this makes me?
Not only is she fully capable of a three-point turn into a parking space (we don’t test for parallel parking in Arizona, because…well, if you’ve ever seen our three-block radius downtown area, you’ll know how little necessity there is to have such a skill) but she’s also capable of being very, very, VERY careful not to lay her foot on the pedal and burn rubber.
Anyone can turn a key in an ignition and make a car start.
Anyone can turn the wheel and make a car move from side to side.
But caution is a skill that can only be inspired, not learned.
There’s no science behind that, so maybe let’s not quote it to anyone.
I’ve been a bit nervous the whole time she’s been learning to master the road. She’s the eldest Luna kid, so this is the first time around for us all with the pride and angst of sending her out into the world without a helmet (I really tried…she just wouldn’t wear it). Knowing that she errs on the side of caution – whether by instinct, by respect for her safety and those of the other drivers around her, or by a healthy fear of banging up her ride — helps me rest a lot easier. She’s venturing out slowly, making small trips to the homes of friends who live less than a mile away to start with. I so much prefer this to the “hot damn, I’m free!” philosophy that I’m sure other kids around her exhibit. I’m sure every parent would feel this way.
Not every parent would put training wheels on a mini-van, though.
I tried that, too.
It went over as well as the helmet thing.
So off she goes into the world, no helmet, no training wheels. No parents beside her to tell her she can lay on it a little more; the elderfolk behind her would like to get to Luby’s before it closes, and ten under the limit isn’t going to work forever.
I just hope the rest of the roadsters will be as cautious with her as she is with them.