Posted by: Michelle Mitton | May 9, 2008

Driving Miss Gracie: Teaching My Teen to Drive

Later this month I’ll be doing a blog swap with a couple of my favorite bloggers–Janice from 5 Minutes for Mom and Gabrielle Blair from Design Mom. They’re some of the best bloggers on the planet and you won’t want to miss it.

I have here today as a bonus guest poster my husband Andrew who went through the terrifying process of submitting a guest post to Scribbit. I’m so glad he did because he’s put into words what I couldn’t . . . how Grace has been learning to drive.


Imagine yourself jogging on a school track. You’re enjoying the air, the cool outdoors and maybe a song on your iPod . . . when all of a sudden you look up and see a little six year-old girl on a bike heading straight toward you. She’s yelling “WATCH OUT!” at the top of her lungs, but there’s no negotiation. Either you move or she’ll plow into you with her bike.

That was my experience teaching Grace to ride a bike. She got good enough to peddle but not enough steer so I took her to the track to do laps for practice.

Fast forward eight years. Believe it or not in Alaska a fourteen year-old can get their learner’s permit. I think it has to do with all of the snow machines, four wheelers and dog mushers here though I don’t understand it myself. Grace’s friend Barrett recently turned fourteen and got his permit (he can barely see over the dashboard) but height restrictions be darned, if you’re fourteen and can pass the test you can drive.

So Grace, eager to be an adult, passed the test and now has a shiny new driver’s permit. Eager to be an adult she wants to learn how to drive. I enjoy my time with my daughter, so I thought it would be good to have some dad-daughter time and soon we were off to the school parking lot.

Fortunately I have a 1993 Ford Escort wagon with almost 130,000 miles on it which sets me a little at ease, I pity the parents with the brand new shiny cars. If you’re one of those people who use two parking spaces to park your car then you shouldn’t be teaching your child to drive in it. For me? No worries—or so I thought. There’s a lot more to driving a car than one remembers.

For example, there’s questions such as when should you let go of the key when you turn the ignition and do you give the car a little bit of gas? If you do, how much gas do you give it? Grace turned the key, put the pedal to the floor and didn’t let go of either. The sound of the ignition scratching and the rpms at their max didn’t set the mood.

When you turn corners do you let go of the gas, lightly touch it or hit the brakes? All of these things don’t come naturally and Grace’s choice was to let the car coast around the corner up over the curb. However, in spite of these couple of things she did a great job.

So here I am again as a parent just making things up as I go along. We had fun, we laughed, I got tense a few times but I’m learning how to be patient. It seems like yesterday that I was teaching her how to ride a bike. Now I’m teaching her how to drive a car. Eight years from now I could very well be at her wedding. For now I savor the moment.

Love you Grace.

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