Kids grow up. As a therapist, I know this but as a mother, it takes me by surprise at times. It is a given that my kids were going to get older, and I know I shouldn’t take that for granted but it happened. Now, my oldest has her driver’s permit, and she is growing up. I still remember her as a tiny baby, sleeping in my bed, with her bottom in the air. The time went so fast, it’s hard to remember all the memories through the years, but she is growing into a wonderful young woman. Now, as she enters the next phase in her life, I also enter the next phase. I need to let her grow in her independence.
I’m like any other mother, I think. I’m over protective, but trying to teach her about love, life, and creating a life that means something to her. I need work on the letting her be independent. It still scares me to think about all that is happening in our world, and what she might come in contact with as she begins to explore and learn about life and love. As much as I would like to shelter her from all the pain in the world, I know that she needs to experience it, while having the safety of her family to help her overcome obstacles and gain confidence so when she goes out alone, she knows how to manage.
I am very lucky to have kids that are motivated, with big hearts, and thoughts about the future. I have told my kids for years that I won’t be caring for them forever, and they need to earn a living to live as they would like to live, so they know that they have work to do. As my daughter embarks on the responsibility of driving, she also begins the road to full independence. She does well in school and is generally responsible, outside of keeping her room clean, and she will do well, I believe.
As for me, my anxiety will rise and I will try to manage as best I can. I will try to work with her, with patience and controlled communication to teach her about driving, but to also teach her about growing into a wonderful woman. To manage my anxiety, I have a car with safety features, like collision prevention and leaving your lane alarm. I will be well rested and prepared when sitting in the passenger seat, and I will try not to scare her. I will use positive self-talk to help talk myself through my own anxiety in a way that doesn’t affect her or make her uncomfortable. It’s all important as she starts learning, and I hope she can forgive me when I get too excited or freak out because I know that will happen.
My baby, who I held in my arms such a short time ago, is learning to drive. I am learning to let go and let her experience life while I’m still here to help. I’m working on confidence in myself, for what I have already taught her about life, and I’m helping her gain confidence in herself as she faces the worlds challenges, and its traffic. I pray that she will safe, and happy, and that she will find everything she needs to be happy and healthy, for life.