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Privilege of Riding in the Passenger Seat

Reserve the Passenger Seat
That time he parked perfectly between the lines.

My 15-year old drives the school drop-off route in the mornings now. I'm in the passenger seat holding on for dear life. He needs the experience. I need to let go. It's the circle of life, right?

Last week, my neighbor text to let me know my brake lights weren't working. My handy husband, who is still working from home, took a quick look and determined the vehicle needed a new fuse. He replaced it, and I was good to go.

I text my neighbor a "thank you" and told her my son had been driving that day. She replied about what a great job he was doing. Seeing him driving gave her a little more confidence about teaching her own children to drive in a couple of years.

My neighbor viewed this scene from the outside, behind us. She's not watching those mailboxes and trash cans whiz past the passenger window. She sees a vehicle with a new driver keeping it between the lines and obeying the speed limit. A calm, ho-hum drive to school. Nothing special.

In reality, the inside of our car goes something like this:

"Remember you're in a school zone."

"School zone's over keep up with traffic."

"Slow down! Slow down!"

"You're about to run off the road."

"Please don't hit that new Tahoe. I don't want to have to pay for it."

"Or the Lexus."

"You could have turned."

My daughter isn't allowed in the passenger seat while my son drives. Why? Because she doesn't know how to judge how fast a vehicle is coming and whether or not he can turn left. I'm not ready to allow his friends in the car. Why? Because 15-year-old boys like to take risks and be rowdy. A new driver doesn't need those distractions.

Life's a lot like that. Whether it's on social media or watching someone from across the room, we see the outside, where've they've been. We don't hear their inner dialogue repeating, "Keep it between the lines."

And they don't hear ours.

I'm all for being transparent, but not everyone needs to ride in our passenger seat.

When we allow everyone to guide us, we'll end up somewhere we never wanted to be and that might be the ditch. Oversharing for the purpose of "transparency" or "keeping it real" only allows people with no experience or without your best interest in mind to share their opinion of what you need to do.

No, we don't need to stage the perfect selfie so people we barely know will think we have it all together when we don't, but we also don't need everyone to hear our inner monologue guiding us between the garbage cans and oncoming traffic.

Choose carefully and wisely who you allow in your passenger seat. And when you see another mother who seems to be enjoying a nice calm drive to school, remember she's repeating the same mantra you are. "Keep it between the lines."


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