Monday, September 30, 2013

And She's Off!

At the wide-eyed age of 24 (my overalls-wearing and Boyds Bear-collecting days), I clearly remember holding my baby girl and thinking, "Man. When I'm 40, this girl will be driving." Followed by a quick, "That day'll never come."

But days you never think will come do come, and instead of proudly talking about your baby's first poops, first pony rides, and first time not crying while going down the second hill on Pirates, you find yourself gushing over a different kind of "first":

"There she goes! First time driving to school!"

"Here she is! First time driving home from school!"

"And she's off! First time driving to work!"

And instead of worrying about chubby baby thighs getting stuck in the bars of her crib (thank God for smart aunts and Wesson oil), you soon worry about new things - more sinister things. I mean, she very well could drive herself to Maine now. Or pick up hitchhikers. Or decide to go buy her own frozen yogurt and eat it all by herself. Horrors!

So in order to keep her from driving to Maine on a whim, I've already followed her to school. But only once. I wasn't sneaky about it or anything. She knew what I was up to. Just making sure of a few things, that's all.

Turns out this whole "helicopter parent" thing we hear about (and accuse others of being) can actually land in your own lap, detouring past obsessive hand sanitizing and making sure toilet paper isn't hanging from your kid's shorts as they walk away from the car.

But I want all this for her, right? Moving onto the next thing. Having more responsibility in life. Moving beyond her expert towel folding skills and onto parallel parking. And maybe even bigger things, like, space exploring or quantum physicist-ing. (Cupcake store entrepreneur will do.)

And I'm thinking, what if I just relaxed a bit - maybe not freak out as much - during all her growing-up-dom? It could happen. After all, I know God has given her "everything she needs for a godly life through the knowledge of him who has called her by his own glory and goodness." (2 Peter 1:3)

Besides, there are perks to having a kid who drives. Think on this: in a year and three months, she can get my cigarettes for me. But then I'll have to start smoking. So how about for now, we just stick to the basics - milk, bread, butter (chocolate, salt and pepper potato chips, Redbox) - and sit tight for the next exciting "first" to come our family's way.

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