Making their own bowl of Sugar-Honey-Crunchy-Os without waking up Mommy at Oh-Dark-Thirty.
Their first iPhone. (Lord have mercy.)
Parental success is logged and charted by our children's milestone achievements. We try to enjoy each phase as it motors through, bringing with it excitement and angst and terrible selfies. We fail and succeed reciprocally, and by the time we figure out how to relax for a minute, we are thrust full bore into the next potential accomplishment. Which brings me to...
Operating a Motor Vehicle.
My oldest child turned 15 last week so on her birthday, of course, we took a direct vector from high school to driver's ed school, where Ella got 100% on her permit test in, like, five minutes. Then it was off to the DMV, where, with no wait time (What??!!) Ella posed for a mugshot and got her official State-Issued authorization to operate a two-ton hunk of highly flammable materials with the potential to crush lampposts, hover boards and slouching smartphone-staring pedestrians in a whip.
|Day 1: Ella at the drive through ATM window|
Amid a bit of a lead foot on both the gas and the brake pedals and some mild righting issues out of turns, Ella soon got the hang of it. Which was more than I can say for myself.
"Dad," she says with a chuckle, "you know that when you push your foot into the floor we don't slow down, right?"
"Uh...yeah. Of course I know that," I say. "Habit I guess."
I reiterate several times what my dad used say when I was learning, and used to roll my eyes at: "A car is a loaded weapon!"
She laughs, unperturbed.
I may have raised my voice slightly a time of two. "Ella! You literally just went through that stop sign!"
"Oh, sorry, she says, "not sure what I was thinking, won't do that again," and continues toward one of the busiest roads in Fort Collins another hundred yards away.
"Ella, you have to regularly check your right side mirror! You nearly shaved four inches off the bumper of that parked truck!"
"Okay," without flinching.
She even starts out driving me, her little sister and her best friend about a mile and a half to dinner in a wispy drizzle when the hail suddenly pours from the heavens like God herself had spilled the frozen peas.
"I think you should drive now," Ella says, pulling over into a cul-de-sac, where we switch seats.
Despite my nerves and ongoing commentary, Ella has been great at receiving constructive criticism; she's calm and is proving to be a fast learner; she knows her limitations.
Seems like the latest milestone.