Why can’t they drive?

Every phase of parenting has its own challenges. For me nothing has been as excruciating as the loneliness I felt with my first infant. My husband was working full-time and going to school full-time and was really only home to sleep. I had strong feelings about being home with my own baby and so I quit a job I loved to nurture my newborn baby. I missed my friends at work terribly and longed for some mental stimulation. I didn’t know that I had postpartum, but it didn’t help matters.

By far, my hardest parenting phase was the first one to five years. Babies and toddlers are very demanding. Changing diapers, picking up toys, cleaning up messes, and watching too many cartoons didn’t make me feel fulfilled as it does for some mothers.

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So fast forward a good decade to where I am today. I have children who are fourteen, twelve, ten, and four, and I swear to you that this is the second hardest phase of parenting.

The drama isn’t to blame or even the demanding financial responsibilities although both of those just seem to grow along with the kids….the hardest part of this phase is that my kids are completely capable of driving, yet they can’t.

I have to say that I am very (and what I really mean is VERY) tempted to allow my kids to drive themselves illegally.  Once you hear about last night, you may be offer to help with some new legislation.

Idaho is on to something. Maybe we all need to get our kids some tractors and 14-year-old limited farming licenses to drive so we can take our lives back?

Our oldest daughter, Abigail, (shown at the left in pink) has quite the full social calendar. It has become quite problematic for LeGrand and I who try to have a date one evening on the weekend. Our dates were getting interrupted and changed often to allow us to taxi her back and forth all over town. Several months ago, LG and I were feeling depleted and after discussing it at length we finally told Abigail that she was going to have to choose either Friday or Saturday night as we were reclaiming one night back for ourselves. She wasn’t happy, but she has complied.

All week long she has been planning to go to a local trampoline gym tonight, but then yesterday a friend invited her over for the evening. She really wanted to do both however we had a date carved out already and told her she would have to choose. She decided Saturday was more important. We told the kids (who hadn’t gotten out of the house all day due to my 6 hours of church service) that we would take them out for a cheap dinner and then we were heading out for our date. Then all hell broke loose.

As we were at Wienerschnitzel a friend of Sophia’s (our twelve-year-old) called and asked her if she wanted to go to a movie. LG and I had already purchased our movie tickets for 9:30 and so we told Sophia if she could get a ride to the movie and home afterward, we could take her over to her friend’s on our way out. We had to run the kids by the library (which was close to the hotdog place) and then were looking forward to getting out by ourselves for our much-needed recharge.

The problems started when we reached Kamryn’s house. It was 8:24 and their movie was supposed to start at 8:30. We offered to take Sophia and her friend to the movie. Kamryn’s parents weren’t home from their date yet and Kamryn’s little brother could handle the younger siblings for just a few minutes as they traveled home. We would still get on our date by 9, and Kamryn’s parents would bring them home.

When we got to the movie, it was sold out. Twelve-year-old’s don’t bother with details beforehand. Then we had to wait for the other friends Kamryn invited. They didn’t have a cell phone so we had to go into the theater to see if we missed them only to get called ten minutes later with the news that they had gone back home. It was a mess.

After a lot of phone calls and waiting on a bunch of girls to make new plans, all the girls ended up at our house. We barely got out the door on our date ten minutes before our show was starting. LeGrand and I were fully frustrated. We now had three kids at our house that we would need to take back home after our date. So much for date-night.

When we finally sat down in the theatre (during the previews, mind you) our combined sighs were audible. I turned to LG in the dark and gave him a kiss and said, “This date night is the best we’ve ever had.” And I meant it. Who knew that the level of enjoyment of a date is in direct proportion to how crazy the hours/days were leading up to the said date?

I guess we don’t want the kids to drive after all.

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