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Growing Up This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

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   I fell in love with driving before I could even ride a bike. For my secondbirthday I received my first car. It was purple with white trim and black wheels,and I would ride up and down the driveway, honking the horn and trying to get mybig sister or parents to push me. I looked like a member of the Flintstone familybecause, like Fred and Barney, I had to use my feet to get around. Though Iwasn't aware of it then, I had the most environmentally sound car ever invented,with leaves as fuel and my feet as its engine. I loved pretending I could drive,and was always waiting for that day when I could drive for real.

Thesummer of my sixteenth birthday finally arrived, and after all the nervousnessand excitement, I got my permit. I stared at the crisp white paper, and Icouldn't wait to drive. It seemed like years between the time I passed my permittest and my dad took me for my first lesson. It was actually only four days, butthey felt like a lifetime. After tons of begging and pleading, Dad brought me toan empty parking area that went uphill, then downhill with many sharp turns onboth sides. All I could think about was how exciting it was going to be to drivemyself to school instead of taking the bus or having someone pick meup.

When I sat in the driver's seat for the first time, though, I hadmixed emotions: excitement mixed with a scared feeling. After five minutes ofadjusting the seat (trying to get as close to the pedals as possible), it wastime to turn on my parents' white station wagon. I put one foot on the gas pedaland the other on the brake and my dad gave me a weird look.

"Whatare you doing?" he asked.

"Putting my foot on the brake," Isaid in an authoritative voice. I had passed my permit test; I knew how todrive.

"Never use your left foot, switch between the brake and gaspedal with your right foot only," he explained.

That's when Irealized I actually had no clue what I was doing, but was too excited to care.Cautiously, I put the car into drive, and we began to crawl toward the firstcurve. Dad and I spent the afternoon going over the basics. For at least an hourI heard, "Good job," "What are you doing?" and "If youwere on the road, you would not only be on the wrong side, but you would havejust hit a parked car." At that point whatever Dad said didn't reallymatter. I thought I had done well, and nobody was going to change mymind.

After all the time I had waited to drive, the moment had finallycome. I had driven, and I couldn't wait to do it again. For the next month Ibegged to drive almost every day. I drove in a variety of parking lots, andeventually on the road.

Driving is an important step in my life. Not onlydoes it show that I have become more responsible, it shows that I have grown up.In some ways I'm still that little girl trying to get my parents to push her, butnow I'm starting to push myself.




This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.





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