Last Friday I traded places with a stranger. I stepped out of the passenger seat, and the DMV evaluator climbed in.
From the front of the building, I watched my son easily maneuver Dad’s car around the parking lot in forward and reverse, breeze in and out of the parallel parking spot, and effortlessly back into a traditional parking spot. When he drove out of the parking lot for the road portion of his driving test, I stepped into the building to await his return. He appeared to do a great job on the test course, but what would the official score say? Would he make a mistake on the road that would prevent him from getting his license today?
While trying to wait patiently for the results, I glanced repeatedly out the window. Finally, I spotted my son headed my way with the paperwork in hand. Did he pass? YES! It was certainly a proud mama moment!
After my teen driver passed his driving test on Friday, he drove himself to work that afternoon. I was on pins and needles while he was on the road, but he actually walked into work with a smile on his face and his head held high. The secretary told me that was the most excited she has ever seen him.
Wait a Second! This is scary!
It was one thing to allow my child to drive off with another responsible adult in the car. I was anxious and excited while the DMV official evaluated his driving, but I was confident that nothing bad would happen on her watch.
I admit that it was a little scary that afternoon to hand my teen driver the car keys and watch him drive off on his own. Even though I knew he would do fine, I was concerned about a few details… like that left turn he has to make while sitting at the top of a hill on his way home. Seeing around the curves in both directions is always a little tricky, especially in late afternoon when the sun is so low in the sky. The slope of the road adds to the challenge of accelerating quickly enough. As I considered the potential outcome, my heart did some accelerating of its own!
However, the most frightening moment came on Wednesday night when I watched him back out of the driveway with his younger siblings. These kids are my responsibility, and a mom has every right to worry, doesn’t she?
Thoughts raced through my mind: Do I seriously want to let him drive his sisters to youth group? What if he gets impatient while waiting to make the left hand turn onto that busy road? What if he forgets to look in every direction before turning right on the way home? What about all the other drivers?
Even though I have been through it all before with his older sister, watching my son drive off with the rest of the kids was tough.
Remembering to Trust
Have you ever worried yourself into a frenzy over things that are unlikely to happen? That is exactly what I was doing!
My strong maternal instinct to protect my children served me well when they were two, five and ten years old, but now that my babies are growing up, it is time to start letting go of that. I need to remember my Word of the Year: Trust.
Do I trust that my husband and I did a great job teaching my son to drive? Do I trust my son to be observant and make wise decisions when he is behind the wheel? And most importantly, will I trust God to watch over my kids when they are on the road?
When I think rationally about these questions in calm moments while my kids are all safely at home, every one of those answers is an easy yes.
Replace worry with prayer
Philippians 4:6 (NLT) reminds me: