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High School, Driving and My Sanity

Yes, it’s that time again. School will be in full swing before we know it and life will finally slow down and get back to normal. Yeah, right.  Wishful thinking on my part. I believe that’s what I was hoping for when summer hit. Guess what?  It didn’t happen then either. LOL

I have two daughters in high school. A junior and a sophomore. They are both so excited they don’t have to have mom or dad drive them around for the first time in their young lives I think they might burst a blood vessel.  Me? I’m just plain freaking out!  

For the past two years, I’ve driven with the rest of the young drivers as they all rush out of the school building to their cars and try to be the first ones out of the parking lot. I’ve been stuck in one of the many traffic jams for a good twenty minutes or more several times. OMGOSH! They are, let me see if I can put this nicely, crazy!

This leads me to me wonder how on earth most of them passed their driver’s test. We did the parent taught course over the span of a year. I think the courses you pay an instructor for around here run about six weeks. (gulp)  

I did my oldest a favor last week.  She couldn’t get off work for the junior orientation, so I stood in a very long line at the high school to purchase her parking pass. Yes, they have to actually buy a parking spot now for $50 each year. Looking back, I’m wondering if this loving gesture was worth it.  I decided to go thirty minutes early thinking I’d be closer to the front of the line so my girls would get a pretty good spot and not have to walk so far each morning and afternoon.  Some of you may be saying a little exercise never hurt anyone.  Let me try and explain my reasons.  Fear does strange things to a person, especially a parent. You see, they will be walking right in the big middle of all the crazies trying to get in and out of this parking lot.  Think Wal-Mart during Christmas time and someone screaming FIRE!

Anyway, my age became very clear real fast. I don’t think like a young adult. Not sure I want to. Everything has changed so much since I was in high school. This new generation is all about texting, tweeting and apparently being at the first of any line no matter what they have to do. A ton of these kids actually camped out in their cars the night before. I think I ended up about 200th in line.  Are you serious?

Well, at least they have a spot and I did get a big hug and thank you. 🙂 Maybe with lots of prayers and a glass of something a bit stronger than Dr. Pepper, I’ll survive the initial shock of watching my precious girls drive off without me.  Sniff…sniff.  Did I tell you how hard this is?

My question for you today.  Did you stop to think what your parents were feeling back when you were in high school and embarking on all those glorious new adventures? I know I sure didn’t.  I was off in my own little world. I feel like I need to call my own parents  and Thank them for helping me make it through!   Boy, the cycle of life is a funny thing. Guess this is one of those payback times! LOL

Wishing you a very special Monday! 😉


29 Responses

  1. I had a less traditional route to high school. I’d wake up early and visit different folks before heading to high school. I guess I’ve always been an early bird.

    Yes Melissa, I was in my own world too during high school as I’m sure our kids are today. I believe they barely know we exist around this time of the year (I think). I like giving my bits and pieces of what I call “Leave It To Beaver” advice as they head out to school, at least it makes me feel better. Have a great school year!!!

  2. I’ve had a car since I was 15. I don’t know how to live without my own car. And no, I never gave my parents’ feelings a thought as I wheeled out of the drive!

    My car in high school had no heater. It’d died and no one wanted to spend any money on that car so I used to drive to school wrapped up in a quilt to keep warm! LOL

    Back in days, my high school had to build a new parking lot for all the drivers and cars. Now, much of that lot stands empty.

    The way the parking passes worked when I was in high school was by class. Seniors got the best parking spaces (i.e. closest to the school), then juniors, then sophomores (who usually ended up far away.) Best I remember, I didn’t have to pay for a parking pass but I have to admit that it is possible there was a parking fee and I’ve forgotten.

    • Cyndi: I had the opposite problem. My little truck had an aftermarket a/c that would overheat the engine when the outside temp topped 90. Not so great when you live in Tucson! In the really hot weather I had to drive with the windows down.

      I kept a backup antiperspirant stick in my console. 😉

      • Oh I have a great story about my husband and the car antiperspirant stick

        We were living in Memphis…which you know gets hot as hell. He’d snuck off from work and was playing golf (middle of the summer! lots of sweat) He got a call that he had to return to the office for some reason (and no way he could get out of it.) So he hopped in his car (that’d been sitting in the hot summer sun) and headed to the office. He decided he might smell sweaty, so he grabbed the deodorant out of the glove box. It was one of those solid sticks. He shoves it up his sleeve and slaps it under his arm…except in the heat, the waxy deodorant was very soft and very hot. What he was smearing was over scorching and waxy and begin to burn the sensitive skin under his arm. He was driving down the interstate, couldn’t pull over..he jerked his sleeve open and tried routing the cold air from the a/c up the sleeve to cool his now burning flesh. Last time he did that!

        So for all of us in the south…beware of glove box deodorant.

  3. My mother refused to help me learn to drive. She’s a nervous Nelly and she likes to be in control ( I could never even push the shopping cart!) so she tried once and couldn’t do it. My next-door neighbor Mr. Guy Mandino taught me to drive. Maybe that’s the ticket – trade out with your neighbor.

    Good luck with seeing those babies off. My kids go back THURSDAY! YAY!

    • Your mom sounds like me, Liz! I try not to hold on too tight so my knuckles don’t turn white, but it’s hard. So hard. LOL And my daughter is a Great driver! I think you pinned it perfectly. It’s the control issues. 🙂 Hope your boys have a great start to the new school year!

  4. You’re handling all this a LOT more calmly than I would…:)

  5. I might have stopped for a second to ponder my parents’ reaction, like when my dad told me how it made him feel. 😉 I have another year before my oldest gets his permit. I’m both excited and sort of freaked about it. The part I’m looking forward to is him driving himself (and brother) to swimming at 4:45 am. If I can get out of that, it might be worth it to give him my car!

    Anyway, I believe his school does a parking lot lottery rather than a line, so he might not even get a parking sticker (or honestly, a car for that matter). Considering the skill and craziness level of teen drivers, it is a wonder we all survived the parking lot, isn’t it?

    Our county police department offers a teen driving course that I’m signing both kids up for as soon as they’re eligible. It’s an all day class that teaches defensive driving, avoiding distractions, recovering from a skid, and stuff like that. I can testify that the skid pan is a lot of fun!

    • A lottery! Now that sounds interesting. 🙂 And I love the idea of a defensive driving course for teens. Why isn’t this required with the driver’s ed? I’m going to check for one around here. 🙂

      Having my daughter as an extra driver will certainly pay off in the long run. It’s so hard to be in three places at once! LOL Thanks for the LUCK! I’m gonna need it!

  6. And, Melissa, I meant to say, “Good Luck!” =)

  7. Uh, since I just started driving 10 years ago…nope. haha Still haven’t thought much of what my parents went through. Though I can guess. Let’s just say by the time I graduated high school, I’d had two significant wrecks. (Only one of which was my fault, swear!)

    Glad I have about 14 years before going through this with my own daughter! haha

    • LOL Jeanette! You’re still a baby yourself! 🙂 Cherish every second of those 14 years. It’s as if I blinked and mine were all grown up.

      And I’m not even going to think about wrecks! Ack! I’m sure your parents were more concered about you than whose fault it was. 🙂

  8. I feel your pain! Luckily my kids always had reasons not to be in that after school traffic (and before school isn’t as bad)…after school activities and such. Also, this year my son will have early release, so he won’t deal with it.

    My parents had five kids and I’m the youngest…I keep telling them I don’t understand how they survived! But by the time I was doing everything, they were just happy if I wasn’t bleeding!

    • Hey, Tess! I know, I’ll just send them thirty minutes early to school and tell them to wait thirty minutes after school. That should go over real well. LOL I can’t even imagine having five! “Not bleeding” LOL. That is a very good thing! 🙂

  9. mom was probably thinking: Thank God I don’t have to remember to pick them up any more afternoon and no more hauling them all over the place for their various afterschool activities…WEEEEEE!!!!!


    • Too funny, Keri! I never thought I’d make a good bus driver, but ya know, that’s exactly what I’ve become. LOL I’m going to remember how freeing this will be and say WEEEE!!!!! too! 🙂

  10. I was a foreign exchange student to Germany back in the days before cell phones and the internet. I spent a year living with another family, navigating another country and calling home once every couple months (for about $4 a minute).

    Looking back, I don’t know how my parents managed to say, “Sure, honey. Go ahead with your sixteen-year-old self!”

    • Wow, Keri! I don’t even know what to say. LOL Except, what an amazing experience. I was apart of the American Foriegn Exchange club back in high school and loved learning from our exchange students. But there is no way I could let one of my kids do it. I guess times are a bit different now days though with all the crazy stuff going on over there.

  11. I don’t know that I had to consider what my mother felt, because (as did Gwen’s dad), she told me pretty often. LOL

    What’s funny is that my oldest just got her permit, and I STILL don’t consider things from my mother’s perspective. I’m too busy remembering them from my old perspective and putting myself in my daughter’s shoes, instead. Weird, huh?

    She had a semester of driver’s ed in school, but they had to drop the road course, so we’ll be signing her up for one. Insurance reduction, as well as helping with the training! 🙂

    I hadn’t even gotten as far as thinking about the student parking lot after school. Maybe we’ll keep the status quo for a while. LOL

    • I was a bit of a rebel back in high school as far as driving went. But Shhhh…that’s our little secret! 🙂 I think all those memories are what scare me. LOL And don’t get me started on the freaking insurance! OMGOSH! My middle daughter turns fifteen this month. That means I get to go through this all over again and will have to come up with the money to add her to our insurance as well. Just shoot me!

  12. $50?! And they get to pick spots?? That’s so strange to me. When I was in school you paid about $15 bucks, and the parking spots were first come first serve, and that was on a daily basis. Same for our college boy, who graduated last year. I think the fee there was $20 and you parked where ever you could. If you get to school early enough you get a good spot, otherwise it’s the back of the parking lot for you. In fact, he didn’t even park in the school parking lot. He preferred parking by the band room, which was on the other side of the school.

  13. This sounds more like my experience, Crystal. We didn’t pay anything and it was just first come first serve. Now they have the combinations to the kid’s lockers and know exactly who is parking where. It’s for safety reasons mostly. At least we don’t have metal detectors like some of the schools around here. Yikes!

    • Ah, I see. It’s a shame the public schools have to do things like that. I just heard about a school that has had to ban the students from wearing a specific color due to the local gang, for their own safety. Insane.

  14. The moments I will never forget are the moments that went on forever as the sprouts (one by one — I had four of them) each took their turn at reversing the car down the driveway all by themselves with their brand-new driver’s licenses in their purse/pocket, and I stood at the front door watching them drive onto the street and away — on their own.

    Which is why I color my hair now so that the white doesn’t show.

    I have to admit the first was worst. Second almost as bad, third & fourth getting used to it. But all of them had an accident during the first year of driving (which is why insurance premiums for the under-21 are what they are) and I came to be grateful for them: nice non-lethal minor collisions that convinced my adolescent wonders they were not invincible and that accidents COULD happen to them. May all your children have the same!

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