I sat in the backseat, silently praying, outloud barking “slow down,” one arm gripping the window frame and one hand sporadically reaching out and clutching my sister’s leg, as our almost 16 year old step sister sped up from a crawl to a sprint on the rainy onramp of 680 South.

I was pretty sure we were going to die.

But we made it! texting our parents afterwards to let them know we were okay. C seemed more nervous that her three older sisters were in the car with her than the fact that she was navigating California freeways in the rain. We all commented on her verrrry complete stops, and my stomach dropped every time she turned completely around in her seat to see if she could change lanes.

C is learning how to drive in a super classy mustard yellow/silver (super weird unnameable color) Nissan Altima…she seemed more concerned with finding a Katy Perry song on a CD to listen to while we drove down to our aunt’s house for Sunday family dinner than slowing down to take the curves on the slick freeway at less than 70mph. She will turn 16, ironically, on April Fool’s Day, and then our lives will never be the same. My parents are really excited because now they won’t have to drive her to school. And we’re all looking forward to having a new DD in the family for after holiday parties.

I remember learning how to drive…at that age you really do feel a bit invincible, and aren’t very concerned about the two thousand pounds of metal you are maneuvering through drivers you can’t necessarily trust. You’re pretty sure you’re a great driver before you’ve had a single lesson in the bright red “STUDENT DRIVER” car that tells everyone else on the road “please mess with the poor, shaking child in this car.” The joke that is driving school….I mostly remember just the gross pictures that they show you of drunk driving accidents, and walking down to Los Panchos for lunch. I passed the test on the first try, and felt ready to take on the world. Any chance I got I wanted to drive, wanted to go to the grocery store to pick up anything for my mom, drive to school, the video store, whatever. You keep your hands on 10 and 2 and are super careful for the first few months, but really you are definitely more worried with the music selection and wondering if your parents will really be up waiting to see if you make curfew or not.

I remember weekends in the parking lots of DVC, my friend J sacrificing her transmission to teach me how to shift and parallel park with her manual, both of us close to peeing our pants laughing as I stalled over and over again, legs sticky with sweat, stopping for slurpees on the way home.

Now I’ve been driving for almost 11 years (AH!) and sometimes I don’t even remember driving to school, the process has become so second nature, I’m just on auto-pilot.

I wish C the best of luck on that driving test just a few weeks from today…but I definitely want a heads up for the first time she’s on the road alone. :)

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