This is it. I am officially going to be on high alert from here to eternity. As I sit here looking for anything I can think of to distract myself, I try to remember the first time I drove in a car alone. At this point I cannot remember driving with my mother as a teenager. I just remember taking off and having freedom.
It is an entirely different experience from this side. My daughter has been driving me around all week but this is the first time she has taken her keys and just left by herself in the car. I'm not sure where you are reading this from but it has been raining here today. The roads are wet. Images of every after school special I've ever seen run through my head. Do they have after school specials anymore? I tend to think not. It explains a lot actually. When I was a kid there were after school specials and you learned a lot. This generation could use an after school special or two if you ask me. But I digress... again....
How do I not worry? How do I let go? To add to my stress level her sister was driving her father and I earlier. I couldn't look. Did she do bad? Not too terrible except for when it came time to park. She will improve and be fine. They will both be fine.
Where is that child? Is she OK? Is she safe? Are there crazy people on the road? I know when I drive I'm the only one on the road that knows how to drive. What if those same people are on the road right now? How do I trust that those crazy people won't hurt my baby?
My mind jumps around all over the place until...I stop. I realize this will not be the first time that one of my children will be taking off in a car alone for the first time. There will be two more after this one. I have to let them go. I have to let them grow and become independent. That is what I want. I want them to be able to take care of themselves. I want them to know that I'm here for them to fall back on but I want them to strike out and become all that they were meant to be. I don't want a twenty seven year old living in my basement that I don't have so they move back into their old rooms. I definitely don't want that.
I wish we could rewind so I could do things different. Or maybe I wish we could just rewind the kids so they were little now that I'm older and know more. Maybe I wouldn't have sheltered them as much. Maybe I would have let them ride their bikes all over town instead of making them stay in the neighborhood. (Probably not.) I might have let them play with play dough on the carpet or keep coloring on the walls so they could have kept building up their art ability. They may have become Picasso or Michelangelo. (Probably not. Do you know how hard it is to get play dough out of carpet? Also those things they make to get crayon off of walls leave oil marks on your walls.)
As I have sat here contemplating every possible outcome, and everything I could have done differently, she has arrived home. She is safe. I can breathe again...until next time.