I’m in that lovely stage of life known as teenage parenting. While on the one hand, I’m grateful to be blessed with a daughter who is intelligent, kind, and has never given us any real strife as parents, on the other hand, this treasure of a child is now driving. 

She took her time getting licensed, in fact, we had to insist that she take the test, but now that she’s accustomed to life on the road, she’s more than happy to visit the 4 corners of our county and then some, and got a job to support her habit. At first we insisted on texts to check in at every stop (let’s be real, it was all I could do not to call her every 5 minutes, the only thing stopping me was picturing disaster as she took her eyes from the road to check her phone), but realizing that’s simply too much to ask, we now just stalk her in real-time on the Life 360 app. She huffed for about a half a second when we insisted that she download it, but then realized that she’s not actually doing anything we don’t know about anyway. The little bonus is that during boring school days she can track her dad as he travels to Ohio (not that that’s ever actually happened). The app has its limitations, though, and often shows her stuck in a dead cell area in a swamp a few miles from our house. After driving there to check on her about 18 times now, I have confirmed that it is indeed a fluke, and she isn’t actually physically stuck in a swamp. (Not that knowing that information will keep me from driving to check on her there another 18 times.)

Alas, I’m getting the hang of not having a stroke every time she backs down the driveway, and low and behold, a snowstorm is predicted. I’ll be the first to confess that I despise snow days. I work at home and need my quiet time to fart around at the computer for hours on end write articles. Obviously none of that matters when a beautiful 17-year-old hops into a death trap Honda Civic in the year’s first blizzard. As the mom who was formerly known to throw out all manner of curses on snow days, I now go to sleep every night praying that the administration has the wisdom to keep my daughter snug in her bed as much as possible.

I have emailed, texted, facebooked and snapchatted her this video about safe winter driving, in addition to sitting her down for a tutorial, pop quiz and even setting up a Jeopardy game to drill her on best winter driving practice; so I think it’s safe to say that she’s ignored me in every way possible now. 

Seriously though, I wasn’t under any delusions that this parenting gig would ever really get less stressful, but if I make it through this winter driving season with a my child intact and a single brown hair left on my head I’m calling it a win.

Alethea Mshar

Alethea Mshar is a mother of four children; an adult child who passed away of a drug overdose, one typical daughter and two sons who have Down syndrome, one of whom has autism spectrum disorder and complex medical needs. She has written "What Can I Do To Help", a guide to stepping into the gap when someone you know has a child diagnosed with cancer, which is available on Amazon, and is publishing a memoir titled, "Hope Deferred". She can be found on Twitter as leemshar, and blogs for The Mighty HuffPost as Alethea Mshar, as well as her own blog, Ben's Writing Running Mom on https://benswritingrunningmom.wordpress.com/. She is also on Facebook as Alethea Mshar, The Writing, Running Mom.