Remember When Driving Was Fun?

My niece turns sixteen next month which, frankly, is sending me over the deep end. I remember holding her as a baby, playing with her as a toddler, changing her diapers (ha ha, kidding. I've never changed a diaper in my life). Now you're telling me she can drive and will leave for college in two years? Nuh-uh. Nope. Sorry, I refuse to accept it. 

I mentioned my angst to BFF Trisha who shared that her friend's daughter recently turned sixteen and it's been a bonanza for the neighborhood. They've got this girl running errands 24/7 - dropping off kids, going to the store, picking up dry cleaning... she's the new neighborhood pack mule. 

I remember that feeling of being 16 and looking for any reason to escape into the car. Going to the store for mom was a pleasure because you got to be in the car.  How long has it been since you've slid behind the driver's wheel and appreciated the fact that you were ALONE, in a CAR, and thought it was just the coolest thing ever? Remember the glow of omnipotence that came with turning the radio to whatever channel you wanted, as loud as you wanted? That feeling that anything was possible because--hey baby--you were in the car.

I can't even remember the last time I was excited to get in the car. It's such a no-brainer activity. Which is too bad because it certainly can't hurt to appreciate the fact that I have a car, I have money to put gas in the car, and I have the freedom and flexibility to drive said car almost anywhere I want.

I'm going to try to capture some of the excitement of being 16. Instead of challenging Blair to rock-papers-scissors fights when a last-minute run to the store is needed, maybe instead I'll leap up, grab my purse and keys and yell, "I'll do it! I'll go! I'll drive to the store!" 

Then I'll crank some tunes and revel in the fact that I have this whole car to myself, just like a grown-up.

And I'll take the long way home.