Another milestone.

Looking south above Interstate 80, the Eastsho...
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Princess Girl turned 15 three days before Christmas. Each year as her birthday rolls around I think about bringing her home from the hospital on Christmas Eve. And then I think about how big of a pain it is to plan birthday parties at Christmas time.

I have always made a special effort to keep her birthday separate from Christmas. I plan a family birthday party and a kid one too. That way the relatives don’t pull the “this is one bigger present for both your birthday and Christmas”. Nobody says that for the kids whose birthdays are in June, it should not be said for December birthdays either. Fortunately, most of her relatives agree with this.

Of course this means she has grown up thinking it is normal to open presents for a week straight at Christmas time.

This year we had so much going on we did not even get a kid birthday party squeezed in. I told her maybe some time in January we’ll have a free weekend to plan it. Although her mental list of invitees is somewhere around 50 kids, so the longer I can put it off the better off I will be.

Turning 15 means that Princess Girl is eligible for her Instructional Permit for Driver’s Education. Yikes. She starts formal Driver’s Ed in school with the new semester today so it was not something that I could find some excuse to put off. Yikes.

Really, I want her to learn well and I want her to have this entire year of instruction and practice before she is eligible for her actual license. It’s just that parental panic that sets in with each milestone in their life that wishes I could put it off.

But I didn’t. She studied the Rules of the Road book and on New Year’s Eve I took her to the DMV to take her written test and get her permit. Later that afternoon we ventured out for her first driving experience on public roads. She had practiced on my parents’ lane and in the school parking lot before, but these were actual roads with other traffic.

What an adventure! She is still very nervous. I said ‘more gas’ more times than I said ‘more break’. I think she only got up to 20 miles per hour two or three times (that is the posted speed limit where we were practicing). But overall I think she did a GREAT job!

She had to deal with some traffic. We worked on some three point turns. She even ventured up to the main road for one block a couple times. When we got home she logged her time on the driving sheet. She had to note the time and the weather conditions. There are only 49 more required practice hours with a parent to go.

Next year at this time she’ll be fully licensed. I remember how exciting that is for a teen. Good thing I have a whole year to get used to the idea.

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