Today was a big day in pursuit of a goal for my daughter. Since bringing her home from Chongqing, China almost 16 years ago, she has been since day 1, fiercely independent, in a hurry to grow up, more comfortable with adults than her peers, wise beyond her years, and goal oriented.

Today she achieved a life-long goal in her 17 years: getting her G2 driver’s licence. When she was 2 years old, she hopped in the driver’s seat of my car and proclaimed, “Maddi drive”. It was on her long list of “Things I’ll do when I’m an adult”.

Milestones along the way

Her progress towards this day has been marked by many milestones:

  1. Moving from a car seat to a booster seat
  2. Graduating from a full back booster seat to a square booster seat
  3. Getting rid of the booster seat altogether
  4. Upgrading from the back seat to the front seat
  5. Moving over to the driver’s seat
  6. Passing her G1 driver’s test
  7. Getting her G2 licence

As her mom, let me tell you there were long protracted battles over when all these milestones could be achieved. Lucky for me, the law required her to be 16 years of age to obtain her driver’s licence. But, I couldn’t be more proud of her determination in pursuing her goal.

Well laid plans

Leading up to her 16th birthday, she had it all planned out for months ahead of time. Her birthday was on a Friday. I was to pick her up from school at 2:30 pm sharp and we would head directly to the Drive Test Centre on Walkley Road.

After passing her G1 test, she would drive us to our favourite ice cream place and we would celebrate with the yummiest flavours of double scoops of gelato on sugar cones. In the meantime, she was diligently studying the handbook and writing practice tests online.

Then Covid hit and all those plans flew out the window.

She patiently waited until June 23, 2020 when the Drive Test Centre re-opened. Then we waited in line for 5 hours so she could write her G1. Pat on the back for mom!

Driver’s Ed was next with lessons starting in the Fall. She quickly impressed the driving instructor with all her questions about his Tesla. Btw, that was not the car she drove, lol. Then we went into lockdown #2 and then #3 so the driving lessons were few and far between.

Challenges along the way

We had difficulty getting her G2 test booked. They were so backlogged. She finally got an appointment for June 23, 2021 in Carleton Place.

As she counted down the days, it was touch and go whether or not they would be open by that date. Thankfully, we moved into Phase 1 of re-opening and she was good to go on the 23rd. The only caveat, the driving schools were not allowed to open until Phase 2.

So, mom becomes the driving instructor in the days leading up to the test. She had not covered parking yet. It’s one thing to reverse park and parallel park yourself. It’s another thing to explain it to someone else in words, especially when she’s your teenage daughter.

A big day in pursuit of a goal by Colleen Kanna

Driving lessons

Mostly it resulted in me keeping quiet in the passenger seat while she consulted TikTok videos. My how times have changed.

Keep in mind, the plan had been to use her driver instructor’s car for the test. Now she was learning to park my big SUV.

Luckily at the ninth hour, she was informed that her instructor was still allowed to do driver’s tests just not lessons. I was relieved of my duties. Thank you 🙏🏽.

Mishaps along the way

Once again, she had the day all planned out. She was to meet her instructor in the McDonald’s parking lot near the driving school at Baseline & Woodroffe. We left with plenty of time to spare so she could practice her parking one last time in the Loblaws parking lot.

All went well and we headed over to McDonald’s to wait for her instructor. Then her phone rings. It’s her instructor waiting in the McDonald’s parking lot in Kanata. Oops! We race back to Kanata, me driving, and I drop her off and wish her good luck. I was going to meet her in Carleton Place after her test.

On their way to Carleton Place, her instructor gets turned around in Stittsville and has her head onto the highway going East instead of West. She gets off the highway and he takes over driving as they race to the test centre. He informs her if they’re not there 30 minutes ahead of time, her test could be cancelled.

Heading East instead of West

Heading East instead of West

As they pull into the parking lot, she hears her name being called over the loud speaker. She rushes into the building to register and when she comes out to wait for the tester, her instructor suddenly remembers he needs to disengage the right-side instructor brakes so the brake lights work properly before the test.

By this point, my daughter’s resting heart rate is, shall we say, no longer resting. He gets it done in the nick of time and off she goes.

Proud mom moment

I arrive about 10 minutes before she’s done and meet up with her driving instructor. He has nothing but good things to say about her. How what a remarkable kid she is, how she’s so smart and asks lots of thoughtful questions, how interesting she is to talk to, and how hard working she is. I knowingly nod my head.

We see the car pull into the parking lot and she gets out and gives a thumbs up!

I couldn’t be more proud of her. Not for passing her test which I was confident she would do, but for the lasting impression she makes on people by being authentic, curious, and true to herself. And, her ability to stay calm and go with the flow.

We celebrate with lunch on a patio and then she drives us home on the highway going in the right direction!

Celebrating on a patio

Celebrating on a patio

P.S. We also went to test drive a new used car. At 17, she is buying it mostly on her own with the money she’s squirrelled away from working part-time. It brought me back to when I was 17 and bought my first car. It was a Datsun B210 hatchback. I know I’m dating myself to the pre-Nissan days. It was $6,500 brand spanking new and the insurance was about $250 a year. Yep, times have changed.

Thanks for sharing in a proud mom moment with me.

~ Colleen

Colleen and her daughter Maddi

I’m a recovering Chartered Accountant and Breast Cancer Champion turned Fashion Designer, and Mom to Maddi. My COKANNA Canadian-made bamboo clothing is all about comfort and style. Giving back to the community is important to me so I support Rethink Breast Cancer‘s metastatic breast cancer education, support, and advocacy work.