Chicken Soup for the Soul: The Magic of Mothers and Daughters, the latest Chicken Soup book by Amy Newmark and Joan Lunden, takes a look at the special bond between mother and daughters.
It’s a good time for both mothers and daughters to reflect upon their time together. Although we may not remember every milestone in our lives, our mothers certainly do. They were there when we took our first steps, rode our first bicycle and at every graduation.
Watching your daughter grow up is a bittersweet moment when you realize you sometimes need to “take a back seat” and trust that you have coached her enough and she can now make it in her own. Chicken Soup for the Soul: The Magic of Mothers and Daughters, features 101 entertaining stories about that special bond.
“There truly is magic between mothers and daughters, and that is why our editors, D’ette Corona, Barbara LoMonaco, and I had so much fun putting together this volume of stories that celebrate that special bond,” Newmark told genConnect. “We hope you will enjoy reading it as much as we enjoyed creating it for you.”
Taking a Back Seat
I vowed I would not be a back seat driver. My husband sat up front next to our daughter. I told myself he was better suited to teach her. Our 15-and-a-half-year-old daughter was now behind the wheel of our car and driving us to Eugene’s Sweet Life bakery for the first time.
“Do you think she’s ready to back out of the driveway?” I muttered. Dan was instructing her to stop at the sidewalk first and then again before the street. She pulled back slightly too fast and didn’t stop until after the sidewalk. “Don’t you think she should slow down?”
I was making comments from the back seat and we hadn’t even made it to the street yet. I tried to stop my words, but they just kept coming. “I know you see Nina’s truck.”
She confidently straightened the wheel as she narrowly slid beside the small blue pickup. There was a car coming behind us now and our daughter deliberately put the car into drive and slowly proceeded down the road. Before we started, I had told her to never worry about what the other drivers might think about her slow and careful driving. I also
shared what my father had told me as a teenager: “Always drive like the other driver is going to do something stupid or wrong.” I took a deep breath and reminded myself to sit quietly and let her father handle it.
We drove down our quiet street. She was doing fine. She had to turn left and then right, driving for a few blocks on one of our busier streets. I held the car door. We were back on a quiet street and she was driving too fast. I mentioned how I seldom rode in the back seat and it seemed faster than in the front seat. My daughter countered with how it seemed faster when you were in the driver’s seat. But she didn’t slow down.
Dan had her move down to a crawl when we saw a pedestrian and a bicyclist. A yield sign was on the corner and Dan didn’t have her stop. I couldn’t hold my tongue. I had to mention that while learning to drive I thought our daughter should stop at the yield signs. You never knew what might be up ahead. I continued to hold the door armrest … a bit tighter.
Dan had our daughter park near our neighborhood playground. Neither of us was ready for her to maneuver the car into one of the restaurant’s tight parking spots. She stopped as she scraped the tire against the curb’s edge. But she straightened, set the brake, pulled out the keys and smiled broadly. She and I, and she and her dad, had been practicing at our local fairgrounds’ parking lot but this was her first real on-the-road driving experience. We praised her as I walked on wobbly legs to the bakery.
Inside, I looked across the table and saw my daughter, this young woman, staring back at me. She was already two inches taller and far more mature than I ever was at her age. Full of sugar now, we strolled back to the car and our daughter used the fob to open the doors. I took my dutiful place in the back seat. We were going to the fairgrounds and, of course, I couldn’t help commenting on how we were going to get there without traversing those “busy” streets. Dan had it under control. I sat with my hand on the door handle as if I thought I could make a quick exit if necessary.
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But then, as our daughter drove us further down the street, it hit me. Was I not only holding onto the handle but holding too tightly onto my daughter as well? When I told her to slow down her driving, was I really telling her to slow down her growing-up process?
She drove on and made it safely to the fairgrounds. I sighed and let go of the armrest. Was I being overprotective? Did I fear relinquishing her to those busy streets?
She was driving with confidence in this confined space and made her way to a small bridge that crosses over to the outer parking lot. We were heading to the smaller neighborhood streets just beyond the fairgrounds. I took more deep breaths.
Being a parent, watching one’s child grow from her first cherished steps to her first time behind the wheel, is nothing short of a whirlwind miracle. I sat up straighter. I let go of the door handle. Then I leaned forward and quietly told my daughter, “You’re doing an amazing job.”