When Your Youngest Gets His Drivers License
by Dear DDD

When your youngest gets his drivers license. Why am I feeling so sad? via @divorcedrama

Dear DDD,

My youngest child is out the door this morning excitedly greeting his driving instructor for the first time. I can’t believe my baby is preparing to drive. It feels like yesterday when I desperately chased behind him as he took off on the sidewalks driving his battery operated Hot Wheels truck. As the door shut behind him today, I suddenly felt a feeling of sadness.

Why am I feeling so sad?

I have been through this process before with my older children, but I remember feeling excitement for them to reach this milestone in their life and feeling overjoyed for what this day meant for me. The day they each received their driver’s license was a day closer to my independence. No more countless hours being the mom shuttle for my kids and everyone in the neighborhood!

We both anxiously waited for the Driver’s Ed car to arrive. I snapped photos of him posing with his permit, I hugged and kissed him, I randomly gave him driving tips.

“Mom, I am going to be fine, stop worrying!”

Easy for him to say… moms never stop worrying. As he ran out the door, I found myself hiding behind the curtains, peeking out the window and watching every detail of this long awaited event in his life. As he drove away from the curb, I realized my baby would end the era of me chauffeuring my children all over town.

When my children were younger, my days were filled with driving to and from school, practices, games and events. I lived in my car! My big, old Suburban was our kitchen, our bedrooms and a big smelly hamper for their dirty clothes, uniforms, and muddy shoes. It was the place that brought us all together, hours talking, singing, laughing, eating and getting to where we needed to go.

The realization that my SUV was our second home came when I first saw the expressions on the faces of the employees at our local car wash. They knew the challenge ahead of them, ready with vacuums in hand to suck up the French fries, crushed gold fish, cookie crumbs, and dried mud that flooded the carpet. They were the heroes that stretched under the seats, entering into that black hole where no man in his right mind would go. This is where they discovered abandoned Sippy cups, water bottles, milk curdling in plastic containers and binkies that went missing during our journeys.

I remember feeling frustrated during my mommy shuttle days; I couldn’t wait for better days ahead.

Today, I was hit with sadness. My mommy shuttle days are over. The days I once dreaded and wished away are gone and I can’t bring them back. It feels like yesterday when we all piled into that dirty old Suburban, and now, in a blink of my eye, it’s over. The best days of my life are gone, a memory… a memory that I will never let go of and I will cherish for the rest of my life.

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