Freedom ... kind of

Tuesday, April 6, 2004

I turned sixteen on Jan. 13th. As is tradition with newly turned 16-year-olds, I went to take my driving test. I wasn't even nervous about the test; in fact I was thoroughly excited.

My mom, on the other hand, was terrified. She kept telling me not to be nervous and that if I should fail, I had all of my life to take the test again ... I didn't need my license right away. I should have realized immediately that having my license was not going to be the fairy tale dream I had imagined, but I was caught up in the excitement of the day. Then the instructor called my name and it came time to take the test.

The driving instructor climbed out of my car and strode up to the building; I followed meekly in her wake. As soon as I got to my mom, I jumped into her arms and hugged her, squealing that I had passed my test.

She was happy for me, and we went to the license bureau to have my license made. I was excited. I gibbered continuously after I had received the card with my name and face on it. I wanted to drive by myself since I was a licensed driver. My mom told me to drive her home, then to go to my doctor appointment.

As soon as my mom was out of the car I was ready and rarin' to go, but my mom stopped me, and told me in the most serious voice she has ever mustered that I was to call her the moment I arrived at the doctor's office. I shrugged her off and promised I would, then hopped in my car and took off.

My first thought as I drove down the road by myself was FREEDOM!! That thought did not last long. I was sitting at a stoplight about six miles from home when my cell phone rang. I quickly looked over to see who was calling so that I could call them back when I arrived at my destination. It was my mom. Once I got to the doctor's office, I called her and asked her what she wanted, to which she replied, "I was worried."

That was when my troubles began. My mom has always been protective of me. My mom worries a tremendous amount and as I am an only child she only has one child to put all of her worry on. I'm not saying all of her rules are completely bogus, but I do think it's ridiculous to have to call her to tell her where I am when she already knows where I am and where I plan to be.

I thought that was bad, that is, until the question of curfew came up.

I thought that it would be reasonable to be at home at ten on weeknights if I didn't have too much homework, because I don't even go to bed until eleven anyway. My mom wants me home at eight thirty or nine. On weekends I thought eleven thirty would be a good time. She wants me in between ten thirty and eleven. This simple concept of curfew led my mom and I into many disputes and arguments.

I realize that my mom and I were arguing over a measly thirty minutes in most of these scenarios, but thirty minutes out with my friends is thirty minutes out with my friends. Finally, we came to an agreement. I would have a curfew of nine thirty on weeknights. I talked my mom into letting me stay out until eleven on the weekends.

At the beginning of my problems with my mom, I didn't know what I was going to do. I was ready for a piece of independence, but not the price I would have to pay for it. In the end, all of my troubles worked out because my mom and I talked to one another and heard each other out. My mom agreed to give me more f reedom to allow me to stretch my wings for a test flight. In turn, I agreed to the conditions that she and I set, after many hours of deliberations.

The moral of the story is, with freedom comes responsibility, and to receive the freedom one must be willing to step up and accept the rules that come with it. But don't be afraid to have some input in those rules.

Kellie Riggs, Jackson high School

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