With three children aged 17, 14 and 12, I am very much in the territory of letting go of some of the reigns, but one particular hard challenge I currently face, is teaching the eldest to drive.
Now it has to be said the job is not mine alone, I started by taking her to empty private car parks a couple of times and letting her get a feel for starting, stopping and moving in low gears.She then took a series of 16 lessons with a professional driving instructor, out on the open road. Now however we have decided to insure her to drive my van, which means, under UK law she can take it out, as long as she has a competent licence holder in the passenger seat. With no discussion I became the nominated passenger. Mrs RJR as wonderful as she is, and despite being the "youth leader" out of the two of us, just doesn't have the right temperament to stay calm in the face of death !!!!!
Its one thing to moan about having to run your kids every where but another completely to let them take you !
Yesterday afternoon was our first session, I'm not sure who was the most nervous, Mrs RJR watching us go, Me being driven, or the 17 year old having her dad with her. The first challenge was the end of the street, when several things conspired against her
- Being watched by a nervous parent
- A different car than her driving instructor, his is a small diesel "hard to stall" hatchback, mine is a small petrol van carrying a fair weight of tools in the back
- A right turn onto a main road which heads uphill
- Stopping with the front wheel in a pothole
These were the challenges, the result.. We swapped seats, I drove it out and parked on the main road and we swapped back
So I could get a feel for what she could do, we took the 'A' roads over Saddleworth Moor and practically to Huddersfield. Our worse moment was stalling 3 times at a set of traffic lights in Slaithwaite, made worse by missing 2 cylcles of the green light,. the event was further improved by the 40' truck behind us using his horn once to often, this is when parent mode kicks in... I was torn between shouting at her and getting out and shouting at him ....... I think I kept my calm and we eventually "struck camp" and moved on
To be fair the transition of power from me to her went well for the next hour and a half. We didn't fall out, I didn't' shout or scream and I'm not now taking medication. More to the point we are both in one piece and so is the van. Sometimes you just need to list the plus points !!
Today is round two and the plan is rather than me driving her to work at American Soda she will drive me
So in the coming weeks,if you find yourself behind one of these with L Plates .....
GIVE US A WIDE BERTH !