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Chicago mom shares secrets of raising an old soul

Within 30 seconds of turning 15, my oldest son researched, priced and sent me a link for a driver’s education class. When I didn’t sign him up fast enough, he asked if he could borrow my credit card and handle it himself.

From the time Daniel was a baby, I knew I was raising an old soul. 

Here was the kid whose favorite “games” as a child were ones imitating adults:

“Look at my calculator, mommy! I’m doing my taxes!” (age 2)

“Can I get a checkbook for Christmas?” (age 4)

“I think I’m old enough to take the Metra downtown now, Mom.” (age 5)

I remind Daniel all the time that I am the mother and he is the kid, but it doesn’t seem to stick. 

Yet his usefulness came into play when he left for a week to go to a friend’s cottage and none of us knew how to use Netflix.

It was bittersweet dropping Dan off at his first driver’s ed class. I knew how excited he was. I also knew that this was one of the first giant steps towards independence. 

After a couple of classes, the barrage started. He wanted his official permit NOW.

For once, I acquiesced and headed to the dreaded DMV.

As most moms of teenagers know, this age group can be a bit surly. Kids can be cuddly one moment, but dive right into “I hate everyone” mode in a nanosecond. And good luck trying to get a picture of your teen smiling without threats of phone confiscation.

Yet, after two hours at the DMV and the understanding that I would let him drive home, Daniel’s smile was simply blinding.

He smiled the whole way home.

He smiled for three hours after that.

Part of me wondered if I was such a bad mother that my kid can’t wait to get that license and drive far, far away.

Raising an old soul has always been tricky. These kids often appear as 40-year-olds, so confident and sure that you start feeling useless. DO they actually know more than you do?

But there is magic in having such a child. That fire in his belly? That eagerness to guide his own ship? The thrill he has in advancing his destiny?  

These adults-in-disguise continue to look for you. 

And give you that brilliant smile that says you didn’t screw everything up after all.


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This article originally appeared in the August 2019 issue of Chicago Parent. Read the rest of the issue.

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