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Recently our daughter received a document of almost infinite worth to a typical fifteen-year-old: a learner's permit for driving. Shortly thereafter, I accompanied her as she drove for the first time.

In the passenger seat, having no steering wheel and no brakes, I was, in a most explicit way, in her hands-a strange feeling for a parent, both disturbing and surprisingly satisfying.

As she looked to see whether the road was clear, we slowly pulled away from the curb. Meanwhile, I checked to determine not only that, but to see if the sky was falling or the earth quaking. If getting from here to there was the only thing that mattered, I would gladly have taken the wheel. But there were other matters of importance here, most of them having to do with my own paternal "letting go."

I experienced a strange combination of weakness and power. My understanding of weakness was simple: she was in control, I was not. But she was able to move to this level of adulthood because of what my wife ...

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