Giving daughter license to figure it out

This sure wasn’t the speed I expected this kid’s journey to go.

This is the Daughter who has always been in a hurry to grow up.

She was relentless when her older sister waited until 17 to get her driver’s license.

“I know exactly how many days until my 16th birthday,” she declared. “I will be first in line on that day.”

And yet, as the calendar flipped and that day drew closer, we saw her doing nothing to sign up for Driver’s ed. She made zero effort to even get her learner’s permit.

I imagine a lot of factors went into her not living up to her declaration. We were those parents who made it clear a gift of a car would not be waiting on her 16th birthday or after. That is something our kids need to figure out how to buy and support on their own.

Growing up in town has meant Uber or public transportation take her where she needs to go. She went to college in a city where you don’t need a car.

But the college years are over. Daughter is trying to break into the competitive movie production industry. No matter the potential opportunity, it is clear: Daughter needs to be able to drive. She needs a car.

This seems straightforward enough, except that she is back at our city house while we are 250 miles away at the remote coastal marsh.

Have you ever considered how do you get your license if you don’t have a car?

Like many of her other recent challenges, Daughter has broken the problem down into smaller pieces. She’s working double shifts at a local restaurant to pay for driving lessons with a company that will also take her to the driving test.

First, she needed her learner’s permit.

Off she went last week, 6 ½ years after she could’ve first gotten it. She failed by one missed question.

I happened to be in town the next day, so I told her I would take her so she could try again. I waited in the parking lot. “This should take about a half hour,” she said as she got out of my car.

Ten minutes later, she came sulking out. “Oh, dear!” I thought. “This is not how I saw this one going.”

I’ve come to learn this is the general theme of parenting. At least the kindest, minimizing gray hair approach. They each have their own speed. Most find their way, even in their own time.

Have you found this, too, Dear Reader? Let go of the timeline comparison and things go a lot better for everyone.

Sulking Daughter came around the passenger side, opened the door and broke into a huge smile. “Someone has her learner’s permit!” she sang and danced.

I think I was even more excited than I would’ve been had she been 15.

She’s 22 and on her way.

Driving lessons begin next week.

Won’t it be interesting to see how long they will take?

Daryn Kagan is the author of the book “Hope Possible: A Network News Anchor’s Thoughts On Losing Her Job, Finding Love, A New Career, And My Dog, Always My Dog.” Email her at

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