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Susan Wanderer has worked with families in kids ministry for 20 years, with the last ten years serving as Kids Minister at Mount Ararat Church in Stafford. Susan and her husband Ed reside in Fredericksburg and have three amazing kids who joined their family in 2011 and who fill their days with adventure. Come join the conversation over at 

My Stomping Grounds

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I have a new driver in the home. He is absolutely ecstatic.  I am a wee-bit giddy.  As soon as we complete this permit phase, I will be in the never-ending land of milk and honey (and lunch-box-bread). There is now one more person to help navigate the errands in this Wanderer – Home. Hallelujah! 

There is also a new hat on my head: Driver-Educator.  I want a cool charcoal v-neck-t-shirt with the hashtag: #drivereducatormom. It’ll be all the rage with Moms of Teens. 

We will start a club, put ace bandages on our sore knees (from all the unnecessary stomp-breaking on the passenger floorboard), and wear Fitbits to track our steps… since we force our kids to park at the VERY end of the parking lot. (parking is NO JOKE, man)

The club will also teach us how to delicately and accurately engage in the following conversations:

Speed Navigation: Son… sllllllooooooowwwwww yourself down. Now… seriously, slow down, now. Like right here. Right. Here. In. This. Spot. Slow. Down. Can you hear me talking out loud?

A Declaration for The Obvious: Hey buddy, do you see that Stop Sign? It’s coming. In like five feet. Stop completely. You know what, just stop now. (At this point, I feel the need to activate my inner-Fred-Flinstone and stop the car myself)

Reminders: Blinkers on the left. Windshield Wipers on the Right.

(at the next Stop Light) Blinkers on the left. Windshield Wipers on the Right.

(at the next intersection) It’s not raining, buddy… Blinkers on the left. Windshield Wipers on the right. 

His Reminder to Me: Yes, Son, I realize there are no brakes on this passenger side of the car. Yes, I know! I can’t help it, OKAY?! I’m a bit stressed. I need chocolate.

Driving as a Driver-Educator is a whole lot different than driving as a Mere-Passenger. I was not aware of the amount of alertness or the required explanation that would be needed to get from one stop sign to the next. It’s a whole new level of consciousness.

I need to take an entire course on “Instructions”. Perhaps an entire Masters Degree. My mind has limits and I now realize this is one of them.

When my son asks to go to the store and I know it will require a major intersection, my brain turns into a mix of Google Maps, Mapquest and Waze.

Moms of Driving Teens, I declare to you: we WILL maneuver through this phase and throw off the control that somewhat strangles us. We WILL enjoy spending quality time with our teen and embrace their excitement for independence. 

Because here is the complete truth: While I recognize this driving permit is code for independence I also know this time is a gift. While there are certain moments of YIKES because, we are driving a massive piece of metal moving at a rapid-rate-of-speed… there are more moments of absolute joy.

These moments of connectedness are life-giving… and for that I am completely grateful.

Because, after this big season of life, there will not be too many more seasons where he will say, “Mom, can you help me with this?”

Let’s embrace this season, moms and dads.


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Pouches' Community Corner

Trains, Planes and Automobiles Kids' Race Series


From a small beginning, Cathy Weise of the Ron Rosner YMCA has developed an ambitious three-race series for kids for this summer, with the help of The Great Train Race, Shannon Airport, Dominion Raceway & Entertainment, the Fredericksburg Area Service League and Race Timing Unlimited.

Great Train Race Director Jennifer Taylor was one of the first on board.