We were in Tennessee for a while over Christmas and when we came back I had to return the rental car. Since our 19 year-old daughter is now driving she followed me in her father's car while I drove the rental. I had studiously avoided driving with Chloe since she got her license last year. Her father and her uncle kept telling me what a good driver she is, but having witnessed one too many toddler (and teenaged) melt downs on her part, I just didn't have the confidence I might have.
Well, I was driving along and periodically glancing in the rear view mirror. She was following at a safe distance and a reasonable speed. She had her hair piled in a messy bun on top of her head and her new very cool glasses on. She looked like the responsible college student she is. When we left the rental place I got in the passenger side and watched as she navigated the roadway. She drives like a grown up. It's amazing. She stopped for a bagel and asked very politely if I'd like anything. I waited in the car and thought about this change. Chloe had a rough and characteristically dramatic adjustment to college. But in the past few weeks she's had one of those miraculous maturity leaps which have become her trademark. I'm getting a glimpse, now, of the kind of adult she will be. She is always going to be flamboyant and probably headstrong. I'm sure she'll be high maintenance in relationships. But she's also extremely generous, funny, loyal and kind. Her first semester of college went fairly well. Her grades aren't terrible, but there's room for improvement. She was upset but not unduly so about that. Chloe has always had a remarkably positive outlook and a good sense of self esteem. Those are two of the things I've always loved the best about her.
So I guess I'll be riding in the car with her on a regular basis now. And when I'm too old and senile to drive myself anymore I can sit back and let her have the wheel.
And then we called 911 - I think I told you about The Engineer's flame thrower - a weed eater type propane torch. He always has the hose out in case of an enthusiastic application...
4 hours ago