Am I still the cool nana?

Published 4:10 am Wednesday, September 6, 2017

What a wonderful day to take a little road trip with my favorite eldest grandson! For any who have stumbled on the column and taken the time to read it, you know my love of family is definitely a recurring theme. On occasion we have a little hurdle to overcome, and yesterday was one of those days.

Aidan, my 17-year-old bundle of fun, is just as sweet and respectful as can be, but yesterday … Well, let’s see how I can put this. We had a little challenge in our relationship. Instead of the ever sweet, adoring grandma, I felt the need to correct him a bit. Now bear in mind that this almost never occurs because after all I am the grandma, and I can let his mom take care of these sorts of things.

Nevertheless, yesterday said grandson was practicing his new driving skills in grandma’s car. I could almost let your imaginations run from there, because we all have stories of those stressful situations with teenagers behind the wheel.

It was a beautiful bright day with not a cloud in the sky. We had left church and enjoyed a hearty noonday meal prepared by none other that myself. With full tummies and hearts, a drive in the country with a handsome driver sounded perfect. Alas, memories of my children learning to drive did not pop up in my memory bank soon enough to warn me of the lurking danger ahead.

Aidan sat behind the wheel feigning confidence. I could see a faint bit of uneasiness in his eyes, but he appeared cool and collected to the world at large. We left the city to enjoy the scenery on this beautiful end of summer day. The traffic appeared light enough, but as usual most people speed.

“Aidan, slow down a little, honey. The speed limit is 45, but since it’s a winding road I think you should slow down.”

“Nana, do you see these cars coming behind me? Everyone drives faster than the speed limit.”

I let that one go, but was beginning to feel a little apprehension as we rumbled down the winding road. To make matters worse I peered deep into a ravine each time we whizzed around a curve. I really tried to be that “cool” grandma who loosens up a little with her grands, but I felt Aidan’s lack of driving hours clouded his teenage judgment.

A couple of more times I said, “Slow down, honey.” Each time they seemed to be a somewhat aggravating distraction to this man/boy at my side who kept zooming along with the traffic. Finally, my need to be that cool grandma was overpowered by my good sense.

“Aidan, I told you to slow down. You are now going 15 miles over the speed limit.” In his defense we had just hit a slower zone, but I thought it was a good time to speak up.

“This is my car, and I told you to slow down. I think you are being a little disrespectful. What do you think?”

He pulled over and said. “You drive.”

Well … so much for the cool grandma of the year award. We drove in a somewhat awkward silence for a little while. One or the other of us made a perfunctory comment or two along our route, but we mostly drove in silence.

A little while and a little time to think later my handsome grandson reached over and kissed me on the cheek. His “I love you, Nana,” told me I might be just the kind of grandma he needs.

Jan Penton Miller can be reached at