Teaching driving to littles that it seems like you gave birth to yesterday is hard.

Extra hard with sprinkles on top.

You begin with the standards.

Red means stop.

Green means go.

Yellow means slow down and make your mother happy by stopping at the intersection.

Railroad crossings are bumpy and should be driven through with extra care.

You remind them about turn signals and seatbelts and checking the rearview mirror and yielding at a four-way stop and to never text and drive and you cross your fingers and ten toes and hope that it all sticks.

You wonder if they hear you. You wonder if anyone is listening.  You wonder if they’ll remember what you say when you aren’t there anymore.

And then?

A day shows up that you never expected.

Yesterday I stood on the porch and watched the car back out of the driveway.

It kind of started and stopped a few times and then it turned the corner and with one spurt of an energetic push on the gas pedal, it drove out of sight.

A car.

Driving away with two twins.

And I wasn’t in it.

I tried to occupy myself with a zillion and one things. I cleaned the counters and did the dishes and answered e-mail and swept the floor and then swept it again just so I’d have something to occupy my hands.

But my heart wasn’t in it.

My heart was in a car that was hopefully driving 35 miles an hour and staying in the lanes and stopping at stop signs and steering clear of all the dangers on the road.

Two hours later the car returned home.

I ran and sat on the couch as if I hadn’t been watching the windows and when the twins burst through the door I nonchalantly looked up.

As if I barely noticed they were gone.

“How was it?” I asked in the super casual voice of a mother who wasn’t worried at all.

“Mom. MOM. MOOOOOOOOM,” the twins replied in unison. “We each drove one way and got to church and back and stopped at all the stop signs and kind of got stuck at an intersection, but we remembered all the rules and WE MADE IT. WE MADE IT MOM.”

They made it.

Another milestone. Another step in a journey that grows ever shorter…

….as they prepare one day to fly.

I smiled at them when they told me and hugged them and told them they were amazing. But inside? Inside I was SCREAMING. I want to press the pause button and yell at them to stop. I want to grab them by the tail and tell them I need an extra minute to catch my breath and adjust.

Adjust to taking cartoons off the channel rotation.

Adjust to cars leaving the driveway without me.

Adjust to baby steps turning into long-distance running.

I’m so proud of them. Truly. I’m so proud of the young women they have become and the mountains they are going to climb and the incredible worlds they are going to conquer.

But truth?

Just between us?

I’m worried I’m going to get left behind.

And as I stood there with worry and consternation mixed with joy and pride all rolling around in my head, something amazing happened.

A hand slid into mine.

And gave my hand a squeeze.

As if to let me know it was going to be okay.

As if to let me know they understood how hard it was to let go.

As if to reassure me that no matter where they traveled, no matter how many miles they drove, no matter where life would take them…

….I’d always be their mother.

And they’d take a piece of me wherever they go.

PS I found this old picture of the twins driving their first car. With my new driving perspective—all I could think was KEEP YOUR HEAD INSIDE THE WINDOW. 🙂

PPS I just posted a new YouTube video showing you how to make one of the easiest bows on the planet. You can see it here.

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Click here to get my FIVE BEST secrets.

Comments

  1. Image for Betsy Betsy

    I'm in tears reading this. Crying over my children driving away and now my grandkids. Let's turn back the clock and keep them in their plastic cars you had to push from behind because they weren't quite sure what to do with their feet. Turn back the clock. xoxoxo

  2. Image for Donna Donna

    Sweet, so very sweet. They look so great side by side through the years & then all glammed up. Looks like they have both found their style & it will continue to grow. You will be fine, still a mother until forever. Hope you put this in the movie Little Women, I just saw it and it still tugs at my hearts.

  3. Image for Renae Renae

    I literally just wrote in my calendar on May 14, "Max is 16!" and then your post showed up in my inbox. I can't handle it. I couldn't even finish reading your post...I'm at work for crying out loud, and no one wants to see a weepy mom crying about something that hasn't even happened yet. I'm not built for this, I don't think I have the strength. And yet, what is my alternative? How did this happen? Why does time drag on when you're young and seem to floor it once you've had kids? I'm hoping that there are enough of us out there that we have some kind of support system, cobbled together through blog posts and Facebook status updates and discussions on the bleachers during hot summer baseball games. Heaven help me, I'm going to be a wreck from here to eternity. God bless your girls, may they remain safe and always want to come home.

  4. Image for Jenn Jenn

    I feel you! It is so wonderful and so doggone hard!! Your relationship will just grow and blossom along with their growth! I tell myself that anyway! Life is always changing, I've determined to embrace and cherish every step, even when it gives me that bitter feeling in my stomach and a lump in my throat!! You are doing an amazing job Mama! Those girls love you!

  5. Image for Julie Julie

    I have been there..............and as the tears roll down my cheeks, I have to tell you I have been looking for the "life slow down button" for a while now, please let me know it you find it.

  6. Image for Detra Coley Detra Coley

    How did our little girls get so old! And we haven't aged a bit! I came across the first picture of the three of them together, right after you moved up here. I shed a few tears.

  7. Image for Kathleen Smallwood Kathleen Smallwood

    Wow, our children behind the wheel has to be the greatest fear for many parents. In typical KariAnne fashion you add the other fear ... the realization that our children are one step closer to not needing us. I love how you think, and especially how you are able to put into words what so many of us are feeling or have felt. Of course, you had me in tears with your girls first solo driving experience and then you had me laughing hysterically with “KEEP YOUR HEAD INSIDE THE WINDOW”. You are the best!

  8. Image for Danise Hirdler Danise Hirdler

    Ugh,,,, the feels!!! I felt the same way as each of my own kids have launched into the world! The only thing that has kept me somewhat sane is my faith. Thanks for sharing your heart <3

  9. Image for Karen Karen

    Yes, you will always be their mama. But when they climb their mountains, your heart will swell with love, joy, and pride that you cannot even imagine, could never have conceived of, when they were littles. And, you'll be closer to being a grandma! Eight years and 5 grandchildren into my grandma season, I still can't believe how blessed I am! For now, though, I weep with you. *hugs*

  10. Image for Kim Kim

    As moms, we do worry about being left behind. A few years ago, we drove away from a college. We helped our son load his belongings into his dorm room. We had dropped his twin sister off a few days before at another college. Won't describe the long walk to the car or the ride home. As the days passed, I also worried about them, about being left behind but finally had a moment of clarity. I saw my children as ships sailing away from the shore, headed for adventure and discovery. It occurred to me that the vantage point was from the shore and that I was the shore. Their shore. Home, if you will. No matter where life takes your sweet girls, they will return to you, the shore, their home. How wonderful that you have raised such loving, bubbly and kind people. You will survive this :) Now, am going to find some kleenex...

    1. Image for Lisa Lisa

      In two years, our b/g twins will head off to separate colleges. Your boat analogy is inspiring and, since I have always loved sailboats, I think I will keep this close to my heart. Thank you and KariAnne for your words of wisdom.

  11. Image for CathyAnn CathyAnn

    Oh, boy! I am not a Mom but tears are running down my face. This is what my dear Mom must have felt when I got my license. You are an A.M.A.Z.I.N.G story teller. Thank you for the maternal insight.

  12. Image for Stephanie Brown Stephanie Brown

    I am in tears. This one is one of your very best.sweet friend Writing straight from.the heart that touches others. I pray you have a writing conference one day.. because as you know I am very limited in the DIY... decorating and do it yourself. Prayers for your precious pair for safe and sensational travels. Once again hon you nailed it.. the heart of all moms and driving teens. Hugs and more hugs from this Kentucky mermaid.

  13. Image for Linda Linda

    Oh how I remember those days so well. The day my twin girls, my babies, got their license was the end of an era for me, and this year they will turn 45. They got their wings and they flew, but they still come home. No worries!

  14. Image for Leslie Watkins Leslie Watkins

    I started crying at the title...and as I read, my heart hurt. You are wise and have already been through this before. I only had to do it twice...but, four times and with those precious twins, I’m about at the hysterical cry point. But remember, sweet friend, you have two beautiful girls—inside and out—who get your heart. They will simply create more littles to love and your heart and home will continue to be full. Amazing how God does that! But in the meanwhile...I’ll be over near praying that you survive graduation, college and weddings. And that joy and celebrations will overcome you. ❤️

  15. Image for Debbie Debbie

    You will always be their Mom and they will always love you and need you. My sweet Mom went to heaven 6 1/2 years ago and not a day goes by that I don’t miss her or need her. Your sweet children are wonderful and you and your husband have taught them well. The Lord will watch over them and keep them. Thanks for sharing your heart. Keep your trust in Him.

  16. Image for Stephanie Wethington Stephanie Wethington

    Be still my heart. I noticed that several others shared they had tears. I had tears as I read your story. Yes, you do wonder if they will remember all you told them and if you will be left behind. You could never be left behind sweet lady. They want you to always be a part of their lives. I can tell and I can feel it. As I read your post I could not help but think of my sweet daughter, Carie. She has never left me behind...and she is 52. She is, as you would say, amazing. The milestones are hard but wonderful at the same time. Enjoy each and every one. xo

  17. Image for Julie Briones Julie Briones

    Love that last photo... and your P.S. You've got women all over the world wiping away tears, KariAnne. What an amazing opportunity and life the Lord has given you to bring much glory to Him! Love ya, girl! (and the relationships get even better when they get married and have your little grands!)

    1. Image for Julie Briones Julie Briones

      Love that last photo... and your P.S. You've got women all over the world wiping away tears, KariAnne. What an amazing opportunity and life the Lord has given you to bring much glory to Him! Love ya, girl! (and the relationships get even better when they get married and have your little grands!) Oh... I'm sharing this with Nika, too!

  18. Image for Judi Judi

    KariAnne, We’ve talked before about how special preemies are (your girls and my granddaughter). My granddaughter received her drivers permit in December and I’m sure her mother (my daughter) must be feeling some of the same things you are, as every mother (including me) has felt since the advent of the “horseless carriage”. I say all this to tell you that I recently had the opportunity to watch my daughter perform with her youngest daughter at church, and while I am well aware that my “little girl” is an adult and managing without me, I was struck by the emotion I felt, watching her, seeing the woman she has become and struck that she’s no longer my “little girl.” Letting go is a lifelong process (in my opinion), I realized that day that I need to let go a little more, that she is no longer mine to worry about, that she’s forging her own way (as she always has), and the pride I felt watching her was overwhelming. I’ve done my job, now it’s her turn. Enjoy the journey - everyday is a new adventure, even as your chicks prepare to leave the nest. Judi

  19. Image for Darlene Darlene

    You are so right KariAnne! We teach them to fly and then want to keep them with us. I have survived two grown sons and now five grandchildren driving! Wow! How did I do that? The Good Lord and our prayers for their safekeeping! My young adults have Become the most loving and caring human beings and I am thankful for that! You will survive and revel in their love in the coming years! We all manage to do so! I once told my children that I know I miss them more than they miss me because their lives are new and exciting and busy. Just like mine was when my mother would call and ask if she has a daughter named Darlene. Blessings on the future for your family!

  20. Image for Sharon Smith Sharon Smith

    Life.is.happening. There is nothing easy about it but you will rock it like the rock star you are. You taught them well. They will always be yours, Proud Mama!

  21. Image for Linda @ Itsy Bits And Pieces Linda @ Itsy Bits And Pieces

    Oh Karianne...a heart puller for sure. Things do change, but they always come home...and someday with their little ones. Two of my grandchildren are driving now...how did that ever happen...and number 11 is on the way. Thank you for sharing and bringing back memories, sweet friend...xo

  22. Image for Pam Pam

    I was crying and smiling at the same time reading this! Oh how I remember teaching each one of my sons how to drive and that unsettled feeling in the pit of my stomach when they left the house on their own. You never stop worrying but get better at blocking it out (until they return home).

  23. Image for Kathy Fredrickson Kathy Fredrickson

    Oh my gosh, Karianne, who knew this was going to get us all awash????? And this is why what you do is so important. You share your heart with us all when we obviously need it. Thank you soooo much, Your babies are precious!

  24. Image for Melissa E Busby Melissa E Busby

    Love love love! Today is my twin daughters' birthday, 22 years, so this was especially poignant. Thank you for touching my heart. And it's a little eerie, did you write this just for me? :)

  25. Image for Jeanine Jeanine

    Yup😢, my friend, and there will be time after time of letting go.... But the bond you have with your daughters is always home. ❤

  26. Image for Reina Reina

    I remember seeing my 16 year old drive off with her 12 year old sister on that first day of "freedom" and thinking "Dear God protect them" as I feared for them both. I was scared out of my mind. I tell moms all the time they do not know irrational fear until they experience the oldest child driving away with the youngest on the day they receive their licence. It's irrational, it's crazy, it's NUTS, but it is a mom's journey we all take. Congratultions on surving today, now you get to do it again in 20 years with the grandchildren. =)

  27. Image for Mary S Mary S

    BEAUTIFUL POST!!!!!! They will be fine..... You've taught them well. They just need to get a little experience and they'll be as good as you are. Breathe in, then breathe out. God will watch out for them as He did when you were learning. God bless you all!!! Love those old photos of your girls!

  28. Image for Regina Merrick Regina Merrick

    Oh, KariAnne, that last line . . . I WAS THINKING THE SAME THING!!! ;) Such a sweet post. I'm still trying to remember details of my daughter's wedding . . . honestly, I think I remember less of it than I do my own! She hasn't lived with us for five years, she's 30 years old, but I still feel a little left out . . . But I'm proud of the women she and her sister have become. Now on to grandchildren . . . LOL!! Love you, Rock Star!

  29. Image for june june

    Well I'm joining the crying readers today. I feel like we have watched your twins grow up...I can so relate to that first driving alone experience with my sons. I hate to tell you this but my youngest has been driving for 10 years and when he journeyed back after the holidays from visiting with his girlfriends family in Texas to Nebraska where he is in grad school he didn't tell me when he was leaving. Trust me they know our tender hearts..I would have eaten my way through or pondered away this past Sunday and he was just fine. At least the Vikings game was a good distraction. By the way, found out later my hubby knew he was on the road...just kept saying I don't know when he is leaving Love our kids don't we all:)

  30. Image for Linda Marsh Linda Marsh

    Crying tears reading this. I just did this with my daughter. Everything you said is how I felt. I want to turn back time!

  31. Image for Marty Marty

    Oh I do remember them all leaving for their first drive, it was so scary. I don't think I took a breath until they pulled back in the driveway. All part of letting go and it never is easy. Also, loved the video of the bow, you are so fun.

  32. Image for Dana Dana

    One of my daughter's is about to be 30years old, she's married for two years now. The other is 24 years old. I do understand your statement completely and wholeheartedly about being left behind. And you do get left behind but only for a moment. They come back. And by that I mean like when they need help preparing a dish that they love that only you do so perfectly. Asking your opinion on furniture placement, drapery fabric swatches advice on getting a puppy, can I have this or that from your house, coming home for a few days just to hang out with you...and on and on. It makes my heart sing when they need me. I miss them so. But we have to hang in there and be strong as hard as it is. It was a lovely, relatable post today.

  33. Image for Carrie Carrie

    When my 16 yr. old new driver took my 14 yr. old for ice cream....I thought it was so sweet that big sister wanted to take little brother for a treat...until I realized that my heart had just driven out of the driveway and left me awkwardly smiling, waving, praying and crying...all at the same time. OH! When babies are born, we mom's sign a contract that says we know our hearts forever will be on the outside of our bodies....but watching a milestone as huge as driving is SO HARD...PS~ they will be fine. My 16 yr old is now a 2nd LT in the Army and my 14 yr old is now an independent road tripper~ 700 miles in one day with friends to see family? Not a problem!!! The twins have the best parents...always remember that. :) We may get left behind, but we are never forgotten.

  34. Image for Kim S. Kim S.

    I also have a sixteen year old and I didn't realize how much it would hurt the day he got his license and drove off by himself. It was one of the hardest parenting things I have ever done. Hugs Mama

  35. Image for Loryl Loryl

    My baby is 38 and EVERYtime he leaves my driveway my heart still catches in my throat and I say a prayer that he’ll always be ok. As long as you’re a MaMa it never leaves you. Even though you’ve taught them all the rules, even though they're good drivers. Mine never leaves without an “I love you”, so that does make it a little bit more bearable.🥰

  36. Image for Linda Linda

    Hun you did well that day. I remember doing the same thing I remember the first night he drove away. I didn’t sleep till he came home. I’ve been thru this with 3boys. It’s easier over time but in another way it’s still part of me going out that door. Then I had my first move out. Driving away after moving him out was one of the hardest things I’ve done. Then my Second moved out. We are still close. But I don’t see them every day. And I’ve had to find new things to do in this new season of life. Then the girlfriends came along and we are about to have a proposal. That changed my relationship with my sons again. I am very proud of my boys. I always prayed for them to spread their wings and embrace life. Your words have given me added comfort because here is another mum understanding what I am going thru. I am excited for this new season- still trying to navigate my role

  37. Image for Kathy Kathy

    With a heart as big as yours the heartstrings are strong and they will always return. And, yes, I had tears too. On another note, they can run errands for you.

  38. Image for Peg Peg

    Driving was one of the most difficult let go times...excruciating actually!! Bless you my dear and hang in there!!! xoxo

  39. Image for Karen Mary Karen Mary

    Oh how sweet! My kids are in their 30s and I still worry about them driving! Rest assured, though, you are not going to be left behind. I can tell those girls (who look just like you, for heaven's sake) adore you and will always want you in their lives. It just keeps getting lovelier! OX

  40. Image for Shelley Shelley

    AND there it is again...tears welling up and my heart clenching...You have such a knack for bringing on the waterfall. You are such a great Mom and a beautiful person. How lucky your beautiful girls, handsome boys and amazing hubby are to have you.

  41. Image for Marlene Stephenson Marlene Stephenson

    And it will never get any easier, i finally told God one night i couldn't worry and have sleepless nights my sons were his, and it really helped. When i read your post it brought back lots of memories and because they have such good parents, they will be just fine.

  42. Image for Beth Y Beth Y

    Awww!! Your girls are gorgeous!! I feel your pain!! As a Mom of just one beautiful daughter, my day will coming sooner rather than later when my 13-year-old will be driving, as well. I think as a parent, it is always terrifying to let those precious babies spread their wings of freedom, but oh, how happy it makes us that we can let them and feel as if they will make us proud! Sending you a hug from one mom to another!!

  43. Image for Sole Sole

    Oh, how I can relate to this post. Our oldest is 15 and has his permit. He can’t wait to be 16 and drive by himself...all the while my heart hurts at this milestone. My youngest will be right behind him as they are 16months apart. I brace myself for that day when he leaves in the car and I will stay behind...so many years already flowing. Just praying that they are safe and they remember all the rules. Hugs and thank you! Sole

  44. Image for Karen S. Karen S.

    Oh. My. Goodness.... you made me cry. Once a "Momma's heart... always". Mine have long since flown and have their own children --- and I still watch, and pray, and hope I don't get left behind. We all do =) Thank you... I really did need a good cry and that tipped the tears right over the brim. I love love love your story telling. (you say you get it from your Father.) You need to write another book.... one of stories.

  45. Image for Cathie Collins Cathie Collins

    A major milestone for sure! I always said a prayer when they left the driveway and another when they came home.

  46. Image for Michele M. Michele M.

    My husband is sitting next to me as I read this on my computer and he on his and he asked me what was wrong? I said - through my serious weeping - "nothing." When I caught my breath and could actually speak a sentence I said "Karianne did it again." Then I explained - again. KA, you have such a great way with words,. I wish I could take your hand too and say it will get easier. But it won't. They are always our babies. And they leave out nests entirely too soon. Hugs. TWO big hugs for those two beautiful twins.

  47. Image for Toni Toni

    Yep, I'm crying AGAIN! You voice what all mother's feel so well! I loved that last photo.....you should give a copy to each of them!

  48. Image for Marilyn Marilyn

    Your girls are truly lovely and seem to be quite level headed and responsible. They have grown up to be beautiful ladies. God Bless them. Marilyn

  49. Image for Robin Drake Robin Drake

    So many memories come flooding back.. and the tears are there, too! Time goes by too fast- we blink and they are grown ups. I miss those days! Sweet memories. Hang in there and don't forget the kleenx!

  50. Image for Graham Graham

    If you ever find yourself fallen upon hard times, you could make a fortune selling pictures of your twins, particularly the first and last ones in this post. They are the cutest girls ever!

  51. Image for Susan Susan

    Oh. You did it again...made me cry! Beautifully told! My girls are grown, & I still hold my breath every time they drive away. 😢

  52. Image for Donna Bray Donna Bray

    Seasons in life can be difficult and joyous at the same time. It's like a tug of war. I love your transparency. My daughter is 46 and I relived those feelings while I read your post and yet here I am a grandma of 2. Enjoy each and every moment. I'll be praying for you and I hope you'll still be posting when the kiddos go to college so I can do the same then--- praying you through. Hugs

  53. Image for Naomi Shelton Naomi Shelton

    Well, what's left to say? Except that parenting, specifically being a Mom, is the best and the worst all rolled up together. Fear and pride, anger and empathy,..you know what I mean. When you decide to be a parent that's the gig you take on and fairly often over the years of raising them you're not sure you're up to it. But you muddle through with tears and laughter and they do grow up into the most amazing and wonderful adults and make you proud and thankful that you did take on the giig. No other way to describe it from my perspective---parenting, being a mom--the best and the worst, the hardest and the most rewarding. Still, within those parameters, unique to each of us. Blessings on you and your sweet, sweet girlies! And thanks for sharing this part of your journey together..

  54. Image for Donna Marie Donna Marie

    If only they could stay in that little car forever (with her head in the car!!!);but that would not be right! Momma, it's hard to let them fly, but these two will never leave you behind!!!

  55. Image for Jolyn Jolyn

    Oh, honey. This one needed a "tissue alert!" You had me with "Yesterday I stood on the porch and watched the car back out of the driveway." Then, that pic of the little-tykes car cracked me up and made me cry at the same time. Cherish these moments.

  56. Image for Rev. Suzanne Taylor Rev. Suzanne Taylor

    KariAnne, I know exactly how you feel. I proud of you for not running out to the car, yanking the driver's door open, and screaming, "NO! NO! You can't do this alone! Let Mama help!" I remember teaching my daughter, Karen, how to drive. I remember taking her for the written test. Then I remember taking her for the driver's test. I remember Karen getting her permit that day, and being eager, yet, scared to drive. We went out for many drives, my only daughter and me, and, by God's grace, always came home safely. Karen's first solo had me on edge, for sure!. Every time she went out in the car alone did. But she's an excellent driver and I've always been proud of her ability to follow the road laws. Karen is 52 now, and, when I know she's out in the car, I still pray for her. A mother's hat is super glued in place never to be removed.

  57. Image for Dianne Miley Dianne Miley

    Ah, KariAnne. I remember. I was a nervous wreck! It doesn’t help that my kids were (are) speed demons. To prevent becoming a total basket case, I resorted to constant prayer! And this trick: picturing my precious child in God’s great big hands. But He’s in that car with them even when you’re not. You’ve got this, because God’s got you! 😉

  58. Image for MARY-ANN (FROM CANADA!) MARY-ANN (FROM CANADA!)

    KariAnne, thanks, again, for sharing your heart with us! Those cute pictures of your girls are precious! You and your dear hubby have done a wonderful job in raising your children. God will bless you for this. Your precious girls will never leave you behind because YOU ARE THEIR PRECIOUS MOM and they love you so much! You have a wonderful bond with those two precious gals! Bless you all!

  59. Image for Carolyn Brown Carolyn Brown

    What a tearjerker! Don't have any children, but I taught school for 37 years. At the end of the school year I would cry because my babies were moving on to the next teacher and I was worried as to whether or not the new teacher would be willing to go the extra mile for them. You have done a fantastic job with the girls. They are meeting all the expectations you have laid out for them. You are their heart. No matter where life takes them you will be a part of theirs. You have instilled in them all they need to know, the value of trusting in God in everything they do. You have given them their wings to fly. Fly girls!

  60. Image for Susan Johnston Susan Johnston

    And another chapter has begun......my favorite quote is from Sir Winston Churchill: "This is not the end. This is not the beginning of the end. This is, perhaps, the end of the beginning." Another great memory to add to the beginning of the Twins' Book!

  61. Image for Glenda Glenda

    Start preparing your heart, oh wait, you will never be prepared as a mother. My two children are now 34 and 32. I held my heart in my fists as they learned to drive and in my stomach as they each moved into their first apartments. My hope was to raise two strong, intelligent, independent, caring adults. When my oldest moved out of state to follow her carrier, my heart broke but I learned to text, Skype and face time. Now my youngest is wanting to move out of state for the adventure of living somewhere other than where he was raised. I want to take it all back and have them depending on me again. As broken hearted as I am, I am so proud of them both

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