Wednesday, January 16, 2013

When They Start To Drive

My oldest daughter is learning to drive.

Be still my heart.

I’ve always been a very protective mom. I don’t let my kids have sleepovers unless I know the parents. Heck, I don’t even let them ride with parents I don’t know!

I’m cautious. Careful. Intentional. Wary.

I’m the kind of parent that goes over “what if” scenarios with them like, “What would you do if you were in class at school and someone came in with a gun and started shooting?” Things like that.

I do it out of my great love for them. They are a part of me. I also do it because, let’s face it; in a way I think I can protect them from the pain and trauma of the world. At least, that’s the goal. 

But now – now driving enters the picture. And I know I can’t ride with them for the rest of their life. I can’t make every decision for them.

I have to start letting go.

It’s painful. It’s stressful. 

The easing up of my own responsibilities in their life is welcome in a way. But it’s also sad. For I know the risk is greater for them as they test out their own limits, thoughts, and boundaries in life.

And I have to let them.

I think being a parent is the only job in the world where your soul goal is to not be needed anymore. To work yourself out of a job. To do so well, that your kids are confident, safe, and successful on their own.

But I still will not be one of those parents that just immediately releases their child to their own car. I will have to let that rope extend out slowly. Methodically.

I know what can happen in a car. I’ve made my own mistakes driving. I’ve had near-misses and close calls that have taken my breath away at the “almost.”

I’ve had friends die in car accidents. I’ve seen.

So with my priceless children? This is going to be a tough phase of life. Even when they do start driving on their own; my nerves and my fears will climb to try to take over my heart and mind.

This is the first test of release. Trusting the job you’ve done with your children. Trusting their judgment and their honesty when they are out driving.

Trusting God. Knowing He has all the control even when you feel it slipping from your own hands.

Yes, my child is ready to start driving. It’s exciting. It’s scary. It’s life changing for her – and for me.

But ultimately, it will show just how much I trust God with one of the things I value more than anything else in this world.  My child.


Laurie Wallin said...

This really is such a test of release! Can't even imagine yet. We're still haggling over the possibility of a cell phone for our almost-middle-schooler. I don't know if I agree with the "first test" theory, though. I think we're releasing them from just about the moment they're born. It's like the whole parenting journey is one great, big releasing in to the arms and plans of Jesus. Lord give us courage!!

Dionna said...

Laurie -

True. We are started out on the "letting go" tests when our children are very young. When they first go to kindergarten, first sleepover, etc. I guess this one just feels more real because it's more of an "independent" test with no one supervising. :)

Good luck on finding the right balance/decision pertaining to a cell phone for your middle schooler!