Everyone I know is pushing me to get my daughter to drive. The flabbergasted look on every face when I tell them she doesn’t drive feels like major parental judgement. But I think any parent who celebrates the day of their kid getting their license is not necessarily seeing the big picture. I get that it is a “rite of passage” and they don’t have to cart them around anymore, but there are advantages to having a stagnant teen. Not only does your insurance remain stable, but you don’t have to worry about them texting and driving and not paying attention to the road, not using their blinker and not paying attention to the road, paying more attention to their Starbucks than the road, rocking out to the radio, or aux cable, or whatever and not paying attention to the road, or my favorite, ending up dead in a ditch. Those are just a few reasons that I secretly love that the my seventeen year old daughter has not even gotten her permit yet.
And yes, before you lose your shit on me, I do realize that there are downsides.
You have to rearrange your schedule to work with their schedule. This is made especially difficult for those whose kids are overachieving and have to be on a sports team, in drama, in a club, work, and have an active social life. I have often experienced the frustration of moving meetings, and now, scheduling classes, to fit the beginning of day bell, the end of day bell, the hockey schedule, the theatrical schedule, and other after school must-haves. It is my own personal version of hell having to just sit around in a high school parking lot witnessing all sorts of shenanigans including PDA, and the intoxicating waves of vape or pot from the black clad rebels huddled under a tree and glancing furtively around for adults.
You are on the road. Constantly. Yes, the windshield time is sometimes exhausting and I have the loveliest permanent sunburn on my left forearm from all the UV that my car’s glass isn’t protecting me from.
You are filling up your tank. Constantly. Those miles don’t fuel themselves, and gas is pricey. If you are looking for advice, get a gas app (not that kind, I hear you chuckling) that gives you the lowest prices in town.
You buy cars strictly based on whether they hold sports equipment, and their gas mileage. See above. Kia Soul for the win even with a hatch full of hockey goalie equipment. I am looking forward to the day when I can buy that sweet little Mini Cooper. No kids or hockey equipment allowed.
With all that said, there is one big but.
The one thing that negates all of the cons is my car is a think tank, not just a gas tank. The conversations had on each and every one of those trips to school, hockey practice, theatre rehearsals, parties, and sleepovers, have made it and continue to make it, all worthwhile. From the heavy stuff like drugs, sex, school, and careers to equally important topics like what she would wear to the rink if she were a professional NHL player (we decided that a pencil skirt and blouse would suffice) the time spent behind the wheel has been priceless. And there will come that day when she does get her license (we agreed that before graduation might be a good deadline) and we won’t have that time together.
I’ll bet if parents really thought about it, they would agree with me. But I will not miss having hockey funk embedded in my car seats, or having to find so-and-so’s house, in the dark, with no directions.
Do you have a kid or kids that refuse to drive? Or did you do a little dance on the hood of your car when they got their license?
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