Previous Challenge Entry (Level 4 – Masters)
Topic: Adolescence/Teen Years (07/16/09)
TITLE: No Need for a Head Harness
By Joanne Malley
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My daughter is a beautiful young lady who’s reached a new level of self-sufficiency and maturity. However, even though a driving permit allows her to prove it behind the wheel of my new car, doing cartwheels is no sudden urge of mine. On second thought, maybe cartwheels are a good thing. They might loosen me up for the whiplash I’m bound to experience.
Once, as she tried to back out of the driveway, she accidentally placed the gear in drive instead of reverse. As she stepped on the gas, I reached a new level of panic I didn’t know existed. The garage door now serves as scrap metal for my son’s upcoming science project.
The minor fact that she’s my own flesh and blood doesn’t prevent me from seeking legal counsel for the nervous breakdown, post-traumatic stress and continuous nightmares her driving lessons have caused. It irritates me that she manages to have a hold on my nocturnal life; as if it‘s not enough she causes me excessive undo aggravation in real life. If anyone dares to intervene or stop me with legal proceedings, beware. I’m armed with peri-menopause.
I now grieve desperately for my loss of safety and control. Every time we head out for more practice, I sprint back to the front door banging and screaming for someone to save me. Her ability to drive has successfully turned me into a prayerful, blubbering idiot who feels like a prisoner in her own car.
The fact that she has a boyfriend, a job and the ability to consistently scrape off her dinner plate is enough maturity for me. Call me crazy, but endless moments of panic, sweat-soaked clothing and whiplash is not something I should endure for the sake of her newfound growth in the driver‘s seat. Besides, nature has recently given me unwanted gray hair. This is enough change and anxiety for any woman. With her new driving adventure, a full crown of grey is a cruel given. You can bet I‘ll fight them every step of the way with tweezers and a box of colored chemicals.
It’s totally ludicrous that the state deems I should now sit in the passenger seat. When a representative installs my own break on the passenger side and gives me a head harness and oxygen mask, that’ll be when I determine if she’s ready to get behind the wheel. Until then, she gets the bike with the wicker basket and plastic flowers so I can keep her under my wing a little longer. After all, I’m the mom and she gets to grow up when I say so.
This situation reminds me of each time I step into new territory with apprehension. I often look to see if my Father is there to ensure my safety. It scares me to stretch in any way while I experience anxiety and fear, especially since I know He won’t pull me back when I am challenged to the point of spiritual growth. If I can only be more like my Father and allow my daughter to embark on her new phase in life without my own fear, maybe I can then lay off the box of sunny caramel with golden highlights.
I guess this is my cue to suck it up, take a deep breath, and do without the head harness. If I need to get through this torturous, scary phase of my teenager’s life, I need to trust God with her every step, even if it means no paper bags or oxygen allowed. Total reliance on Him is sometimes hard, but to grow in spite of fear we must listen to his word. “Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or discouraged, for the Lord is the one who goes before you.” Deuteronomy 31:7
Tomorrow we’re practicing parallel parking. I’ll be sure to thank God for the little blessing of keeping her near the curb and off the highways. I know the neighbors will be thrilled that they, their pets and their vehicles are spared for at least one more day. I’m so elated I can make such a positive difference in my own neighborhood.
The next time we’re on the roadways, I can’t promise I won’t arm myself with a paper bag to control hyperventilation, however, I can be certain my Father will take it away gently, reassure me and offer security as He watches both of His daughters grow.
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