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“New Beginnings”

We brought her home 16 years ago.

The yard stork announced her arrival as we drove into the driveway.

She gently cooed.

She cried.

I comforted her, bathed, dressed and fed her.

Never had I known how much I could love someone.

She became our world.

Somehow it doesn’t seem so long ago, but 16 years go by so fast.

It’s hard to fathom your child in her next version of herself.

Over the past years, I have witnessed a transformation of this child. She has become many things during her life: a friend, an actress, a musician, a pianist, a great student. My heart beamed as she was crowned a Junior Homecoming Princess on the football field at her high school last fall. She loves people and they love her.

She is dreaming of her future so we’ve visited UNC-Greensboro, N.C. State University, Elon University and Lee University and hope to visit more universities this year.

She took the SAT and ACT.

She will apply for college this fall.

This is all happening so fast. I am encouraging her and accepting that God has big plans for this child of mine.

I well up with tears a lot knowing that she is becoming and will continue to become new versions of herself.

I took her to get her Driving Permit last January. I knew that life would never be quite the same and that a new version of my child was on the horizon. I will admit, the first time I sat as the passenger felt like I had lost all control. After all, I had been driving her around for 15 years, but it was now time for me to accomplish a new goal. My husband and I were now charged with the job of training her to be a driver. Truthfully, I didn’t feel ready for this challenge. I liked the way it had been. Again, it’s hard to picture your child as the next year older. I knew we had to do this, but I had trouble releasing my control as the Momma driver.

I rode as a passenger all last year, biting my nails and my tongue. Her dad rode alongside her on Sunday afternoons but I have been by her side on hour long road trips, 30 minute journeys and quick trips to the store as she became a confident, law abiding driver.

I used to talk a lot in the car (aka lecture) when I was frightened over a decision that she made as a driver. I would call on Jesus sometimes under my breath and occasionally a bit louder when I felt concerned. She had to learn how far back from the intersection to start braking so she could safely stop, how much to brake while turning left, how to park in a parking spot and how to make numerous decisions as a driver.

I shared so many tips and tried to guide on the side, but ultimately, something started changing. I began to trust her and realized that she was making the right choices as a driver. I wasn’t making constant comments and advising her at every turn and intersection. I could sense that she was feeling more comfortable behind the wheel.

Recently, while I sat in my familiar place as her passenger, I watched her as she looked to the left at an intersection. She found that it was safe to turn right ​so she turned​, as if she had always known how this driving thing worked. Instead of the tension and anxiety of the early months, I now feel comforted and fairly peaceful as I praise her for all of the skills that I see her applying as a driver.

I have turned​ as well from thinking that I can do all the thinking for her to becoming her driving coach, her driving mentor. Last year at this time, I never pictured what it would feel like a year after she got her Permit. I truthfully just saw the struggle and knew that she had to drive at least 60 hours with us to be eligible for the License, but am glad that the time has come. She will go to the DMV soon to drive for the evaluator and hopefully, earn her Driving License.

Will I keep coaching her on driving? Yes.

Why? Because she is a novice driver. She is very capable.

I just have to keep releasing my control and placing my trust in her skills. These skills will continue to develop as she practices driving. I have to trust that she will apply the road laws that she has learned and remember all of the driving tips that we’ve shared.

There will be rules and requirements which are meant to protect her. She is our child so we’ll keep loving her, cheering her on and expecting her best effort.

I accomplished the training of my child as a driver. I came alongside of her and watched her grow. I wasn’t sure that I could do it early on. I kept believing in her and in the training that we all had provided.

Just like we drove into our driveway 16 years ago with our new baby, I will soon be driven into our driveway by that same precious child. New beginnings are here again.

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