In March, my two oldest grandchildren turn sixteen. Where did that time go? For these teens, this birthday is the most important milestone they have yet encountered. It is driver’s licence time, freedom or so they think. It is a universal fact, that parents worry about their children regardless of their ages because parenthood is a lifetime commitment. However, serious anxiety really starts to kick in when the sixteenth birthday arrives. I remember when our kids became drivers, the giant step towards independence.

Tammy was first. Although Chuck offered to teach her how to drive, I quickly vetoed this idea. Why teach her things and then have to unteach her all his gems of wisdom because they didn’t exactly go along with the code of safe driving. I knew my nerves could not make it through the learning process so it was agreed that we would enroll her in the Drivers Ed. program.

Tammy went through the course with no hitches and passed her test. Two years later when she was heading off to university, we had no worries about buying her a second-hand car. We were pretty confident about her driving skills.

Meanwhile, Steven’s turn was fast approaching and he was determined he would be prepared. The Driver’s Handbook which was picked up far in advance of this momentous occasion was studied extensively. I too benefited from this wealth of knowledge, well sort of. I had always thought I was a fairly competent driver but according to the Driver’s “Bible”, I was not. Seated in the front passenger seat, Steven became a talking Driver’s Instructor, a regular little podcaster.

“You didn’t signal soon enough, Mum. You’re too close to that car. There should be x number of feet between you and the next vehicle. You stopped too far back from the corner, etc. etc. etc.” Good Lord, he was driving Miss Lynda crazy.

Before I knew it or wanted it, that little piece of paper was tucked into his wallet and he was a certified driver. It was amazing the amount of ‘driving’ errands Steven volunteered to do for me. But now the tables were turned. I was the passenger, and not a very relaxed one either.

The floor boards became pretty much worn down as my foot would hit the imaginary brake whenever I felt it was necessary for Steven to slow down. Instructions such as, “Now there is a stop sign ahead so stooooooooop.” were constantly uttered along with my favourite piece of advice, “Think of all the other drivers on the road as idiots. Be constantly on the alert for mistakes they might make.”

When it was time for Steven to get his first car, he informed us that he did not want an old lady’s car like Tammy’s. He wanted a sporty babe-mobile. A compromise was reached. Since he had been squirreling away his money since the age of 13 for a car, he was easily able to pay the difference between his idea of the appropriate type of transportation and ours.

So, good luck Tam and Steve and everyone else who is entering this exciting parenting phase for the first time. You are no longer in the driver’s seat. Be strong and remember, there is light at the end of the tunnel. Before you know it, the kids will be in college or university and you will not be so stressed. You will worry less only because you will have absolutely no idea what they are up to.