I knew this day would eventually arrive. I knew, even when Ali was a little girl, that someday in the future, I would experience this day. I dreaded it, I tried not to think about it, and I sometimes laughed it off. But it’s here, and doing those things did not stop it from coming. 🙂
The day Ali turned eight years old she said to me, and I quote, “I’m half-way to driving!” A dagger went through my heart (my baby can’t grow up!) and a worrysome thought ran through my mind. But I quickly thought to myself, “She only eight…that’s eight years from now. I won’t worry about that now.”
But yesterday, as I was on my way to a meeting, I began to have some paniced feelings as I thought about what was going to happen today…I felt that familiar dagger again and had the worrysome thoughts of Ali being behind the wheel of a car on her own.
Ali has had her learner’s driving permit for over a year. She got it February 27 of last year. I remember the day well. She was so excited! I was excited for her, yet as being a mother, I knew my daughter was growing up…little by little. This was just another step towards becoming a young adult. Don’t get me wrong…that’s not a bad thing, but each step is an adjustment for me.
She finished driver’s education class early June last year, and did very well. We purchased a car for her to drive in December, and on January 15 she got her school driver’s permit. She filled out all of the necessary paperwork that the school needed for her to get a school parking permit. She was ready…but the roads weren’t. We’ve had snow, ice, blowing snow, etc., and we weren’t comfortable with her being on the roads alone. The snow is melting and the roads are now clear, so earlier in the week during one of our family meetings, we all decided she could drive to and from school today on her own. (Gulp!)
Like I mentioned a few paragraphs ago, I began to have this overwhelming paniced feeling yesterday. Some of the feeling was selfish, I admit, and some of it was fear. Thoughts like: “I won’t have that quality car time with Ali any longer…I’ve had it for eleven years to and from school!” “I’m losing my baby!” “I don’t want her to grow up!” “What if something happens to her?” “What if she gets in a car accident and she is taken away from us?” I then heard something on the radio, just a few minutes after those thoughts…something like “All of what we have is on loan from God…our cars, our homes, our children, our spouses. They are His, and we have the privilege of having them in our lives and the opportunity to take care of what’s His….” That’s what I needed…thank you, God, for speaking to me through the radio!
Ali is His, as is Zach, as is Bill, as is everything else in my life. Before falling asleep last night, I thanked God for the people and things He as allowed me to care for in my life. I prayed He would protect Ali in everyway on the roads today, and for Him to keep her away from danger. I pray for our family every day, but I specifically prayed for her safety. I also asked Him to give her great joy in this monumental day in her life. We all prayed before leaving for school this morning as well. (We normally do that together in the car, but will now be doing that before leaving the house.)
As you can imagine, she was excited and more than ready this morning! She had her parking pass ready, the car keys already on her lanyard, and she was primping in the mirror, wanting to look especially cute on the first day of driving to school on her own. 🙂 Her face was full of smiles.
I took Zach and his friend Alex to school, and we left before Ali did. (I thought it would be best if she didn’t have any other distractions in the car on her first day of driving.) After getting the boys to school, I was checking the time, and thinking she would be leaving the house soon. I had this overwhelming peace come over me…I had felt that peace before…the peace that only God could give me. I suddenly wasn’t worried about Ali driving anymore, and became thankful and excited for her! After all…I remember the first time I drove on my own…what a great feeling that was! 🙂
As I headed for home, I met Ali driving her car. I waved to her, and I noticed she had the biggest smile on her face, she was sitting tall in her seat and had both hands on the wheel. 🙂 A big smile came over my face, and at the same time I thought to myself, “I can’t believe I just met my daughter behind the wheel of a car!” I thanked God for this moment. I had to share this experience with someone, so I called Tina and left her a message.
After learning Ali made it to school safely through a text from her after she got into the building, I texted her back, telling her congratulations and how proud of her I am today. My little girl is certainly growing up, and I couldn’t be more proud of the young woman she is growing up to be! (I welcome keeping Ali in your prayers on future days on the road though!) 🙂
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