two weeks ago the teenager acquired a driver's license -- and my nine-year-old Mini Cooper. At the time, I was rather stressed out, first about her road test, because the teenager was so stressed out, and I literally felt her anxiety (and yes, I am using literal in the literal sense). Then because OMG! MY DAUGHTER HAD HER DRIVER'S LICENSE AND WAS DRIVING... MY CAR! At 16!
[And she'll have fun, fun, fun 'til her mommy takes her Mini away.]
As a child of New York City (i.e., Manhattan), I had zero interest in acquiring a driver's license or a car when I was 16... or 17. Why go through the hassle when you can walk, or take the bus, or the subway, or a taxi anywhere? Indeed, in New York (i.e., Manhattan) a car was a burden, and a big expense, where people paid more for monthly parking than they did in rent.
It was only because my father INSISTED that I learn how to drive before I went off to college that I took driving lessons at the end of my senior year of high school. And let me tell you, learning how to drive in Manhattan is not for the faint of heart (nor is the New York Department of Motor Vehicles -- shudder). And even though I did, in fact, acquire my driver's license before heading off to college, I had zero desire to drive in the City (and still don't).
However, I realize that in the suburbs, especially where we live, being able to drive gives teenagers a sense of freedom and independence. Not unlike the feeling(s) I and my friends had being able to get around the City on our own.
So now each afternoon, instead of rushing off to school to pick her up, or take her to the gym or some other activity, I sit alone in my office, typing on my computer, my cat napping in my lap, repeatedly glancing at my mobile phone, waiting for her to text me where she is and that she is okay, and waiting to see or hear the Mini.
And I wait. And I watch. And I wonder.... How did she get to be so big, so independent, so grown up? What happened to my little girl?