My daughter turned thirteen this summer while we were vacationing in Europe. It was like any other teenage girl’s birthday— We were celebrating in a pub in Northern Ireland, that was owned by a professional surfer from New Zealand, eating burgers and listening to live music (totally normal, right!?).
After she blew out the tealight candle on her plate of cheese fries, she turned to us and said, “You know, in a couple of years I’m going to be able to drive!”. And then I set down my beer and nearly passed out at the thought. My baby was going to be a driver in two short years (In Florida, kids can get their permit at 15).
Reenactment of my face when my daughter mentioned driving….
A kid and their parents will have two TOTALLY different views about this big milestone. My daughter was making a simple comment, reveling in the fact that she is turning into a smart, brilliant young woman. My wife and I are so proud of her, but it sucks how fast she is growing up. It feels like yesterday that we were changing diapers.
At that moment in the pub, we put the biggest smiles on our faces that we could muster. We wanted to show her that we were as excited as she was about getting older and having more responsibility. But deep down it scares the hell out of us. Driving a car is the first real step to independence and adulthood… the next thing you know, we’ll be taking up couples kayaking or BINGO to fill the void in our lives.
It’s hard for every parent to let go. Every year we give her a little bit more trust because that’s our job. We see so many moments where she shows us that we did a pretty great job of raising her.
This week, I find myself traveling to Baltimore, Maryland with Kia— it’s the first step to accepting the fact that I will soon have a teen driver. I will be learning about and driving a 2018 Kia Rio, which could quite possibly be her first car based on its value and safety record (which are both paramount as a parent).
While I’ve been on numerous drives with car makers, this one might be the most important. The focus is on first vehicles for teens. I, for one, have some precious cargo that I will not be letting behind the wheel of just any car.
Be sure to follow along on this adventure with hashtag #DiscoverKiaRio.
Kia is hosting me in Baltimore. All opinions are my own.