This is a post by Chris Brown, NFI's Executive Vice President
Check out this beautiful, joyful face! If you knew how my daughter and I spent most of a recent day together, you might be surprised that she ended that day in this state.
Lexi and I spent most of that fateful day toiling away at the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS is Texas’ version of a DMV) for her to take the road test for her driver’s license. Spending most of the day there, let alone an hour, isn’t what most people would call joyful. In fact, most people liken it to getting a tooth pulled without anesthesia. The DPS “examiners” aren’t exactly a friendly bunch. They stoke fear in even the most confident teen. But I must confess to the joy I felt in seeing my 16-year old as she experienced—to use her words—the best day ever!
This face is the result of a child reaching perhaps the most significant milestone before becoming an “official” adult. Lexi is now released from the shackles of her house arrest. Her new-found freedom is the culmination of hours spent driving around with her parents as she learned the rules and skills of the road, including the most fun skill of them all—how to parallel park.
And notice that smile! It’s not just any smile...it’s a $4,000 smile, baby! She not only got her driver’s license, she got her braces removed the same day. And that’s not all. It was her 16th birthday! A triple treat that our family will never forget.
Unfortunately, if you have raised a teen you know that the joyful days are fleeting. Her mom and I now we get to worry about her driving alone. No sooner had we arrived home from the DPS than she cajoled us into allowing her to drive to a friend’s house and share her freedom. I’ve also spent the last few days getting insurance quotes to add her as a driver to our policy. (I can hear the sucking sound of the vacuum cleaner attached to our bank account getting louder day by day.)
As I came crashing back down to earth, I could only lament the fact that in just a few years, I have another daughter to take through the same process. Indeed, I’ve already started to save for her “mouth o’ metal.” But I can also look forward to seeing her smile in the same way, and that makes it all worth it, except I can still hear that vacuum...