Life at home changed drastically four days ago when my oldest son got his driverís license.

The moment was wrought with more emotion than I care to admit. I take pride in not being the overly-dramatic type. I have to work on being sentimental.

But when my son slid behind the wheel of his black pickup Wednesday and took off down the road by himself for the first time, I was choked to the point of embarrassment.

I wanted to hurl myself to the ground and cry, ďWhere have all the years gone?Ē and pound the ground like a lunatic.

Instead, I opted to follow him back to school.

I stayed a good ways behind him, of course. No need to be obvious. I just wanted to make sure he arrived at his destination safely and that he crawled though the school zones appropriately.

Since that day, the strange pang I get in my stomach when he roars off hasnít lessened. Iím still weepy and I keep having flashbacks of my blue-eyed baby boy climbing the bookshelf to reach his favorite Dr. Seuss book. Heíd climb in my lap and we would read ďOne fish, two fish, red fish, blue fish,Ē over and over againÖ

Now, he is over 6-feet tall, outweighs me by 100 pounds and drives.

Iím one pang short of a full-blown panic attack.

I realize, of course, that my son is not the first 16-year-old to drive and I am not the first mother to worry.

My friends keep telling me that my nerves will eventually settle down, and the urge to trail him or install a tracking device in his truck without his knowledge will subside.

I can only hope.

For now, Iím driving (no pun intended) my entire family crazy with constant reminders and driving tips.

Donít text when driving. Donít answer your phone while driving. Donít call me or anyone else when driving. In fact, donít even talk to your passengers while driving.

Donít drink and drive. Not even sweet tea. Pay attention. Monitor your speed. Donít run stop signs. Donít make U-turns. Ever. Wear your seatbelt. Always. If you donít, I will find out and I will hurt you. Watch out for deer. Turn your headlights on. Call me when you reach your destination. And whatever you do, make it back home safely.

Because until you do, Iíll be at home holding my breath.

SARA VANDEN BERGE is Managing Editor of the Empire-Tribune. She can be reached at 254-968-2379, ext. 240.