There She Goes

Athena, driving herself to school for the very first time. A strangely melancholy moment here. On one hand, now I’ll get to regularly sleep in on school days for the first time in over a decade. On the other hand, my brain has started this song on a loop.

So there’s that. They do grow up, they do.

59 Comments on “There She Goes”

  1. Awww!!! What a wonderful, terrifying, exciting, nerve-racking, proud, and generally emotional moment and day!!! It’s such a strang myriad of sensations watching them do things for the first time, even little things, like discovering their fingers when they’re wee babbies, never mind big things like officially driving oneself to school. *waves cheerfully to Athena* *sips coffee and frets over her being safe as if she were my daughter too*

  2. As I live vicariously through your posts, I find myself experiencing a myriad of emotions I did not think were possible about someone I have never met. Watching a child become an adult is one of the most bittersweet experiences we can have. A girl child becoming a woman makes us even more proud and fearful because of their strength and vulnerability. Congratulations on a job well done. Now watch your adorable Athena soar like the goddess that she is.

  3. Congratulations!


    You have my sympathies, good sir.

    My REALLY big “My GOD, but there is a lot of dust in this room today” moment was my son’s first day of college. So you’ve got that to look forward to. (And I mean that completely, it’s a great moment I’ll treasure forever. Dammit! If this room didn’t just fill up with dust again.)

  4. A five-year-old friend of Rosie’s has a classic fond exchange with her regular babysitter that I got to see yesterday:

    Sitter: You drive me crazy!
    Child: I can’t drive until I’m sixteen!

    How early they start looking forward to being bigger. How fast the time goes.

  5. With reference to the song, I don’t think Athena is really the poster child for middle-aged angst. That will have to wait a few decades (fortunately).


  6. This totally made me miss my youngest boy (Now almost 22), my daughter in law, and my two grandbabies in Germany! Cling as much as you feel inclined, because the days of being able to be the static-laden fabric softener sheets of their lives pass far too quickly. Heck, I see the daughter in the same city as me three times a year, TOPS! And the ones who are half a nation or more away… yeah… sadness.

  7. My younger daughter was (a) nervous about driving and (b) too busy with extracurricular activities to learn to drive during high school — so I had until she was about to spend the entire summer after high school at drum corps before imminent empty nest really hit me. For me the song was “Turn Around.” (At the link: the Kenny Loggins version, with visuals from . . . Sims 2!)

  8. Wow, that’s a nice car she’s driving; my brother had to put up with a banged-up rustbucket when he was in school. (I just didn’t, and don’t, have a car; but then I’ve never lived more than 5 miles from all the places I routinely need or want to be).

  9. Did she quietly close the bedroom door? Did she leave a note that she hoped would say more?

  10. Now we know why John hasn’t been talking about money lately. His daughter is hitting him up for a car. A Minivan isn’t exactly a cool kids car.

  11. Congratulations to you & Athena! My son is 17 & has yet to start driving, primarily because he & I are in a battle of wills over whether he gains possession of my Mustang before or after I shuffle off this mortal coil (though his driving may just hasten that day by several decades).

  12. Our kids are not yet old enough to get a license, but that day’s not far off. Though considering how high car insurance rates are in Philly (especially for young drivers), I’m hoping to encourage them to get comfortable with the transit system (and taxis), and not feel the need to get a license right away.

    (I do want them to learn to drive before leaving home– it’s a useful skill to have, especially in places where there *aren’t* good alternatives to private automobiles. But I wouldn’t mind if they don’t do it at the very first point they legally can. At the moment, neither of them seem to be counting down the days till they can get a license, though.)

  13. You make her drive a minivan to school? I mean, I’m a fan of the Odyssey (that’s the same color, and looks like a similar model year, to my own), but I’m a middle aged father of four girls. She’s a high school student. I’m pretty sure that counts as child abuse in some jurisdictions.

  14. May Mercury watch over her! (At least in his aspects w.r.t. travelers, luck, and messages; the “trickery and thieves” part we can leave aside. ;-) )

  15. Oh man, I got misty the other day when I took my older son to the elementary school he’ll probably be attending. I can’t imagine him driving away! Although he does try to sneak into the driver’s seat when I’m not looking….

  16. The minivan means she can pick up all her car-less friends on the way to school once she is 17.

  17. She ruined everything, in the nicest way……. She’s smart and not raised by wolves. I think that kid is going far.

  18. I’m pretty sure Athena’s first reaction is “I get to drive the car! By myself! W00t!” Angst over not having a ‘kewl’ car (or a car you don’t have to ask permission to borrow) comes later, and is a basis for discussion of after school jobs, etc. We’ve been vicariously watching Athena’s milestones for years now; you go, girl!

    How did her blood donation thing yesterday go? I don’t like it when the doctor says I need a blood test, let alone voluntarily getting stuck with vampiric needles; chances are good I would have passed out.

  19. rfyorkinpdx:

    As the parent of this kid, I suggest you don’t try to suggest I will feel differently than I suspect I will. It’s vaguely rude.

  20. I just realized there are probably twenty songs with “There she goes” in them, though only one with such an aggressive hook. Maybe you could just cycle through all of them a day at a time.

    I got into parenting as a step-parent of teenagers, so life was pretty loaded up with good-bye/first time/there they go moments almost as soon as I was attached to them. I’d say it’s either the most melancholy satisfaction or the most satisfactory melancholy I’m aware of. Definitely makes one aware of the temperature, force, and direction of the stream of time.

  21. My 18-year-old nephew (and his new driver’s license) were up for a visit and a spell of house- and cat-sitting a few weeks ago. Teaching him to drive my stick-shift truck reminded me that I’d bought it when he was 8…and brought back the memory of him riding in the passenger seat at that age, asking me “How do you know how to DO that?”

    Suddenly the windshield fogged up. Yeah, that was it…sure…

  22. My daughters are ten months old, so a morning like this is far off in my future. Still, the odd reminder that these lovely little creatures still small enough for me to be able to carry two up the stairs at once, and hold all three with a certain amount of juggling, will grow up all too soon is nice to get. With triplets you tend to get so caught up in making sure all the immediate needs are met that thoughts of the future tend to come only when prodded

  23. I drove my mom’s Pinto to school, and that was uncool even before they started exploding. A van would have been cooler back then, plus you can fit a whole lot more teenagers in one. No matter how flexible and foolhardy and skinny you are, there’s a limit to how many high school kids you can fit into a Pinto, or into my friend Sue’s old-skool Beetle. We’d have LOVED to all have a seat instead of having to stack up like cordwood. In a whole lot more of snow and ice than that (psh, that’s barely a dusting, and the road’s clear!)

  24. My youngest daughter is 18 and a senior and is still working on her license. (She’s in no hurry.) It’s going to be strange when she heads off to college this fall. *sniff*

  25. If I may ask, was she looking forward to getting her license? It seems to me that Kids These Days don’t really feel in a rush to do so, whereas when I was a child, the day you turned 16 was like Christmas morning. I’m trying to figure out if this is an olds thing or a California thing.

  26. So surreal to me too John. Breana drove herself all over town today. It sounds cliché but I can remember holding her when she was a little 6 pound baby.

  27. @mythago, my kid didn’t get a license until 23; at 28, zie doesn’t own a car, but between local public transit and Zipcar doesn’t feel the need (zie walks to work and the grocery store, and there are 3 Zipcars in the lot across the street). I didn’t get mine until 25.

  28. Ok across pond here. she’s driving already? (Background – Took me 50 hours before I was ready to take a test. Average according to my instructor is 40 hours. Then I had save up £1000 to be insured on my own car aged 18)

  29. Time does fly doesn’t it? It took me a couple of years to get used to my son driving. Still won’t drive within ’cause he drives worse than I do (I drive like a thug). Driving a stick is a lost art, although if you can, you can often get used cars that have stick cheaper because most people can’t drive a stick.

  30. Mythago:

    She definitely wanted her license, yes. Bear in mind we’re out in the middle of nowhere. Having a license opens up a lot of options for her, in terms of visiting friends and such.

  31. Brilliant post. Perfect song. I remember feeling the same way when my boys drove off out of the cul-de-sac, without me in the passenger seat. But I quickly found definite advantages to them driving (once I got over the fact that they didn’t need me as much anymore – well at least for chauffeuring). I found I could have them pop down to the grocery store, go pick-up dinner, go to the hardware store. No longer are there those last-minute dashes to Gamestop to trade in video games or pick-up new games. No longer do I have to drive them to their friend’s houses or do a late night run to pick them up from the movie theater. It’s very liberating. But I still hold my breath when I hear sirens in the distance and they are not safely at home. And I always make a point of saying, “I love you. Be careful.” And I hold my breath until they come back through that door.

  32. Congratulations!

    Athena must be about the same age as my older son — he drove himself and his brother to school for the first time about a month ago.

    I didn’t want to make a big deal of it and kissed them goodbye and then stood upstairs, surreptitiously watching out of my bathroom window as he carefully backed down the driveway in the van (yes, we have a van for him to drive) and head down the dirt road to the highway. I watched till he was out of sight. Like you, we live in a rural area and he is nine miles from school.

    I confess I was on pins and needles until, by chance, I got a text about 10 from the younger boy asking me some trivial question… then I KNEW THEY HAD ARRIVED SAFELY.

    It was huge for me. I’m sure it was for him too.

    It’s an amazing milestone. With children, as they say, the days are long and the years are short. Thank you for sharing.

  33. I hear you, John. My son is one year behind Athena in age and he’s talking about getting a learner’s permit. He’s almost as tall as me! I want my little boy back now!

    Speaking about that song, wow. You’re starting to sound like me. This is not good. When I hear you talk about your family all I hear is LOVE. So, here ya go:

  34. Seconded Stantonio.

    Down here it’s Learner’s licence at 16 which means 120 hours (yes, you read that right) of supervised driving before you get your solo licence at 17 at the very earliest (if your parents are very dedicated and/or rich). And even then you’re still looking at another three years on probation (lower speed limits, easier to lose your licence, restrictions on passengers etc).

    And for me, this was the particular earworm that followed reading the post (possibly an age giveaway):

  35. I was going to say “Hey, she’s starting the game in Hard mode” due to the snow and ice, But I suspect driving in traffic is even more of a challenge for a teen in rural Ohio. Not that either one is the easiest way to learn.

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