My Dearest Max,
I can’t even begin to tell you how happy I am for you. Yesterday, Max got his driver’s license. I can’t even believe it. Those six months of teaching him to drive went very quickly.
For those of you who haven’t started, or are in the middle of this process, this is what Seth, and I did. Seth started teaching Max to drive. Then I joined in and took Max driving too. I also paid a driving school to take him for 7 driving lessons. I have been driving for 31 years, but I don’t know how to teach someone to drive. I am not a professional driving instructor. I also don’t know how to teach to the test. There were times Max taught me stuff that his driving teacher taught him.
Back to Max. I remember what it felt like to get my license. I remember the first time I went to a store by myself. It opens up this whole new wonderful world. It is an amazing rite of passage, and it gives this fantastic feeling of independence. I know how awesome this all feels and I couldn’t be happier for you.
I watched you leave in your car, and I said a prayer. I will say a lot of prayers. Remember that your life and other lives are in your hands. Think about how precious your life is. I just want you to come home safely. Drive slowly. Drive patiently. Drive safely. Don’t worry about what other people are “supposed” to be doing. Just focus on what is. Someone cuts me off, “Oh well.” Someone is riding my ass, “So be it.” Remember that road rage is a serious thing. Try to be respectful to all the drivers. You don’t know what crazy person is behind the wheel. Always be respectful to the police.
You work so hard at school, at football, for your internship, and for your work for your dad. We see that you put your all into everything and we are so proud of you. We wanted to reward you with a reliable safe car. I am so thankful that we could buy this for you. I laugh when I think about my first car. It was my grandma’s white celebrity, and it was not a nice car. I was thrilled to have a car, but your car is so cool. I love it and I know you will take good care of it and drive it with care.
I want you to be careful with yourself, and I want you to be even more careful when you have others in the car. Your sisters can’t wait to drive with you. Treat them as the precious cargo that they are. Be super careful if a friend is in the car – or your parents – or your grandparents. It’s a big responsibility that one can never take lightly.
I hope you enjoy the freedom of driving to football on your own. You just returned home from your first drive by yourself. I am so thankful that you are home safely. Bear with me as I adjust to you driving on your own. I will say lots of prayers. I will track you. I will watch your speed. I am just being open and honest with you.
No phone – period – in the car. Don’t touch it. Put it down and don’t touch it until you get to your destination. Focus on the road. No distractions.
No music until further notice. You need some time to just focus on driving.
You are only allowed to have one nonfamily member in the car with you as per your license rules. This isn’t my rule.
You are not allowed to drive after 9 as per your license rules.
Text or call me if your plans change so that I don’t worry.
Let me know when you are leaving the house and tell me where you are going. Keep me posted on your whereabouts.
You are not allowed on the thruway until we teach you. Just stay around our house.
Drive the speed limit.
Drive safely and patiently. Use patience every day while you drive. Remember that there are old people on the road who are struggling to drive. Remember that there are people who don’t know where they are going.
Be a defensive driver. Look all around you. Make sure to look at cars ahead of you and not just the car right in front of you.
Don’t let others distract you while you are driving. Example – tell your sisters they can’t fight and distract you.
No eating and drinking in the car for a while. Just get used to driving.
Help with driving your sisters around. Help with errands. Your license has benefits for me too.
Driving is a privilege. If you don’t follow the rules, you don’t get your car.
I have so much faith and confidence in you. I know that you will take this seriously and will do a good job. I am so proud of you for learning to drive and for getting your license. It’s one of those things that I don’t think is a choice. You learn to walk. You learn to swim. You learn to drive. You go to college. You get a job. Those seem non-negotiable to me.
You are growing up and it’s amazing to watch. I didn’t think I could love you more than the day I met you, but I was so wrong. I love you more every day. I love who you are. I love learning about you. I love seeing you happy. I love seeing the stages in life that you are going through.
16 was one of my very favorite years. I loved being 16. I loved cheerleading. I loved school. I loved my friends. I fell in love. I learned to drive. My grandma gave me a car. It was a great year and I see how great this year is for you so far. Your summer has been so productive. You took all your driving lessons. You got your license. You are doing a computer science internship. You are working for your dad. You just started an SAT class. What a summer. How can I express to you how proud I am of you.
Now just remember that your life is very important to me. Bring yourself home to me safely every day. Enjoy your freedom. Enjoy your car. Enjoy this wonderful whole new world. I am so happy for you.
Mother emotions with a child getting their license:
Happiness, Excitement, Scared shitless, Nervous, Proud……
You got this Max. Keep on soaring. You are an inspiration to me. I’m always striving to be better for you.
I love you with my whole heart. My first child. My son. The one who made me a mom.
Forever and always,
P.S. Advice from moms who have children already driving:
Let them know the rules.
P.P.S. If you don’t have the Life 360 app, go run and get it on your phone!
Laughing, Learning, Loving,
Rebecca Greene, LCSW-R
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