Ready to Drive?

Dylan has been practicing his driving with Bill.

He’s driven for a couple of hours, and Bill told me Dylan has been doing really well.

I have not been practicing with Dylan. I didn’t think I could take it.

But Dylan has been acting responsibly.

For a teenager, Dylan is acting really responsibly. He’s been getting up on his own – and getting ready for the day. When he wants to do something, he looks at the calendar and figures out a time to do it. Then he asks. He knows which days he has to work – even if he doesn’t know his whole week’s plan – and he lets us know when he’s ready to go (on time). He usually even gets in the car with his stuff. If I give him a note with times that we need to do things, he sets reminders on his phone so he knows when to be ready.

So when he worked for hours last night (although he forgot to wash his uniform beforehand), and then he got in the car and asked to drive…

I said, “NO. You have to be kidding. Forget it. No way.” It was nearly midnight, and the road from his work to our home is mostly two- to three-lane highway which, not coincidentally, was also undergoing construction. I made all of these points very quickly.

And Dylan works at a concert venue. The concert had let out for the evening, so getting out of the area was an extra challenge. Nearby roads were closed for about a mile, except for those covered with special police crews directing traffic. Pedestrians swarmed places where pedestrians don’t normally swarm, and cars were stopped in long, long lines.

“I know a better way to go,” Dylan said. They say that people with ADHD would make great lawyers, because they are constantly negotiating.

“No,” I said. “I don’t need a better way to go. I need less stress and that means I will drive.”

So I drove – until we were about a mile from our house. Then I stopped the car.

“Ready to drive?”

“Okay,” he said, and got carefully into the driver’s seat. He made seat adjustments and checked the lights and put the car in neutral and slowly hit the gas. The car didn’t go.

“It’s in neutral,” I said.

He was already on it.

He put the car in drive, and pulled out. He drove slowly and carefully, like a new driver is supposed to drive. He knew when to turn on his turn signal (and did) and hit the brakes gently when he needed to come to a stop. When he got to a red light, he braked just behind the appropriate line.

I held my breath the entire time. My heart was stuck in my neck. But I tried not to say anything panicky.

And it worked. Dylan drove all the way home without incident, and parked the car in the garage perfectly.

My son is learning to drive.

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