We often think of teaching our teens to drive as either pure torture or a sad time when we once again realize that they are getting older. Not me!

By Katie Bingham-Smith
Photo by Getty Images

As my son gets behind the wheel every morning on our way to school I think, how did we get here? 

You always think you have more time than you actually do between kids' stages and phases until they are standing in front of you and you have to do the actual work. One minute you are baby proofing as they start crawling and walking around, and the next thing you know, you are signing them up for driving lessons.

While times like these can be reminders of just how fast the time goes by (and how old you are), teaching my son to drive isn't half as scary as I thought it would be. In fact, it's been downright awesome because:

1. He drives to McDonald's when I have a craving.

Or to our favorite gelato place, or the grocery store for chocolate and potato chips, or to my massage appointment so I don't have to drive home while I'm completely relaxed. How many times do we have a craving for something, an appointment, or have to run an errand and don't have it in us to venture out? Well, my life has changed because my son loves his driving gig and is happy to oblige, especially since he gets a treat as well. It has made some tasks so much more enjoyable simply because I don't have to drive.

2. I can teach him the right way to drive.

Our way is always the best way, especially when it comes to driving. The way I see it, he is still a fresh driver and I'm hoping I can mold and shape him into doing it the very safe and right way. I'm not sure if it will stick when he gets out there on his own, but I am giving it my best effort.

3. It's an excuse to spend time with him.

He doesn't have a choice about this, I have to be in the car with him. If he wants to get his driving hours in so he can get his license, mom gets to tag along and sit in the front seat. This has actually been a great time to bond with him.

4. It's refreshing to hear him actually asking me for advice.

When there's is a blinking red light, or he sees an opportunity to go right on red, there are times he pauses to ask me the right things to do. This has been a nice change of pace for us since for the past couple years he not only hasn't asked me for advice, the advice I give him is usually blatantly ignored.

5. The confident boost is pretty amazing.

Yes, our kids grow up and reach independence, but it feels like the times we actually get to witness some of those milestones as they get older are few and far between. It's not kosher to follow them to work and watch them in action. We can't tag along with them in school, while they are out with their friends, or God forbid, while on a date. We get to soak up all that love when they are little—walking, talking, eating their first ice cream cone to name a few. But then they grow up before our eyes and we miss some of the bigger moments.

6. It gives me a nice break to enjoy the view.

I'm a single mom so up until he got his permit, I was the Uber driver for my three kids. Yes, I still have to come along for the ride, but it is glorious to be a passenger again and feel the sun on my face and look out the window and relax a bit. Plus, I can keep my other two teens who share the backseat in line a lot better when I'm not driving.

Watching my son drive has been such a positive experience for both of us, and I surprisingly shed a lot less tears than I thought I would. Now, the hard part is to stop hitting him up for a fast-food run every time I feel the urge. Some habits are hard to break.