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ZACK TAKES THE WHEEL
As many of our readers know, Emilie and I started this clinic while our oldest son, Zach, was in kindergarten. I still remember blocking out my schedule so I could see him get on the bus for his first day of school — a bus he’s not going to need to ride much longer. This month, Zach turns 15, and I am terrified. I know I should be proud of how much he’s grown — and I am. But he’s going to be learning to drive now. I remember when I used to worry about him falling down as a toddler, and now he’s going to be out in traffic! This is a whole new world of parental stress. Looking back, I don’t know how my mom and dad dealt with handing me the keys for the first time. Thankfully, we have far, far safer standards for new drivers these days. There are very clear rules for whom they can have in the car with them and when — a far cry from my teenage years when you basically took a class and then were set loose. But still, there are more distractions than ever in today’s world. Teens might not be able to cram all their buddies into the car the day after getting their permit, but they do already have all their friends and every data byte of information on the planet right there on their phones. Honestly, I’m kind of glad I didn’t grow up with that level of distraction right at my fingertips. Zach is mature for his age, though, and I don’t have a doubt in my mind that he’ll take the responsibilities of getting behind the wheel to heart. It’s just that this new stage in his life makes it very clear that he’s growing up. Those sorts of milestones are always going to come with a bittersweet mix of pride and fear that I’m beginning to get used to as a father. But this stage in my son’s life is going to take me on more of a literal wild ride. It’s already been decided that I’ll be the one riding shotgun with Zach while he’s learning the ropes — Emilie made that very clear. Now I’m acutely aware
of the fact that, unlike learner vehicles, the passenger seat of my car doesn’t have an extra set of brakes. Still, my old car is better than Emilie’s full-sized SUV, so I guess I should have seen this coming. Thankfully, we live in an area with plenty of country roads and large, empty parking lots. This is all to say that if I seem a little rattled at your next appointment, well, you know why. But I am blown away by how much Zach has grown and how being a dad is still full of surprises. He may not be the little boy he was when we founded this clinic, but I’ll still block out my schedule to make sure I’m there for these incredible moments.
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