Last night my daughter, aka The Girl, was out late, on her own, for the very first time. It’s the first time The Wife and I have allowed The Girl to drive after dark. It was, quite possibly, the most nerve wracking experience I’ve ever had.

It wasn’t just a matter of her being out late, it was a combination of that, the fact that she’s done very little night driving, and, most importantly, that cops LOVE to patrol the main road leading to my neighborhood that she had to drive down. Plus, as a new driver, she also has a 12pm curfew, which complicates matters.

The wife gave instructions that The Girl had to leave her location at 11:30pm to allow plenty of time to get home and avoid any potential curfew conflicts. She was only 6 minutes away, so it wasn’t like she’d be cutting it close even if she left a little later than planned. I expected her home at 11:45 because 1) she doesn’t own a watch or pay close attention to time, 2) she’d be with friends who have zero rules, and 3) she drives like a grandma – easily 10 mph below the limit (which I am very fine with).

The Wife and I head to bed at our usual time around 10pm or so. All I can do is just lay there. I quickly realize that there’s no frickin way I’m going to be able to sleep until The Girl gets home. Just not happening. So, I get up and decide to wait it out on the couch. I fire up the next episode of Amazon Prime’s “The Man in the High Castle” and start watching the clock.

11:30 rolls around – I figure she’s wrapping up with her friends. Realistically I have zero expectation that she’ll leave by this time and expect a good 5 minute delay.

11:40 rolls around – She could be home any time now. I go to the window that looks out on the main road and see not 1, but two cops sitting on different side roads with their radar guns up and searching. There is zero traffic. I start to get worried. I text her asking if she’s left yet. No reply.

11:45 rolls around – Still no sign of her, cops still sitting there, watching… Waiting…. I’m getting nervous. Still zero traffic. I text her reminding her that the police like to patrol our street very heavily and she should be careful. No reply.

11:50 rolls around – Again, no sign of her. One cop has gone, the other isn’t running radar, but is watching for cars, even though I haven’t seen a single one in the last 10 minutes (yay for quiet neighborhoods!). I text her reminding her of the curfew – no reply.

11:55 rolls around – You guessed it, no sign of her. I’m in full on panic mode now. She has 5 minutes to get home before that cop will have every right to ticket her for breaking curfew. She loses her license and can’t retest for it until she’s 18! ACK! What do I do? Do I call? That’s another violation – using a cell phone while driving. SHIT SHIT SHIT SHIT SHIT

11:57 rolls around – No frickin’ sign of her! Panic mode has moved to crisis mode. Did Cop #1 pull her over up the road? Did she lose her mind? Has there been an accident? Should I go looking for her? Do I wake up The Wife? Cop #2 pulls out of his hiding spot and head towards the direction The Girl will be driving down. CRAPITY CRAP CRAP!!!!

11:58 rolls around – Is that what I think it is? Is that her car I see heading down the road? I waver between joy that it looks like she’s on her way home, anger that she’s so frickin’ late, and concern that it isn’t really her car. HOLY SHIT! Just get home girl!

11:59 rolls around – her car is parked in front of the house. SHE’S HOME SAFE & ON TIME! Holy crap! I think I just peed a little!

11:59 and 30 seconds rolls around – she walks in the house like it’s no big deal. Do I play it cool or bust out “Angry Dad” to discuss the situation (really lots of yelling)? I opt for playing it cool. Simple matter of them “losing track of time” and doing whatever it is teen girls do on Friday nights. She says she saw my texts but didn’t want to get in trouble for texting & driving (good girl!). She saw both cops and stayed well within the speed limit (good girl!). She almost called but didn’t want to wake The Wife (good girl!). Off to bed she went with a song in her heart and a smile on her face. 

Holy shit! That was intense! She was smiling and happy, I was a complete nervous wreck. I don’t know how I’ll be able to handle that again. 

By the way, she’s going out again tonight………..