One week into summer vacation and tired of being at the mercy of her parent’s schedule to get her where she wants to go, Jennifer Lynn and her friends planned what Steve calls an “NVP” day. That stands for a day with “no visible parents” – where she and her 16 year-old friends can live a life like iCarly except without the laugh track.

So Jennifer Lynn and her two buddies cooked up taking Golden Gate Transit from Petaluma into San Francisco for the day. They didn’t have much of a plan on what they were going to do once they got there besides being cute girls on an adventure in the big city.

I was quite confident that they had worked out the bus schedule to get there without a problem. It was finding the bus for the return trip that concerned me.

Jennifer’s only experience with buses is getting on one in front of the school for a field trip. However, her friend traveled to China and back on her own last summer so I thought that figuring out the bus schedule in a country in which they were native speakers was well within the capabilities of three honor roll students.

I texted Jennifer Lynn about the time I knew she would be getting on the bus to ask her to check in with me just to let me know how the day was progressing. In keeping with the iCarly format, once she got on that bus, having a mom was only a theoretical exercise. I never heard from her until 4:30.

The bad news was that they bus they had planned to take back only went as far north as Novato so they would have to wait another hour for a bus that came to Petaluma. The good news was that neither Steve or another parent was going to have to drive to San Francisco to retrieve them.

Jennifer Lynn did make it home just fine and when we asked her to tell us how the day had gone, we could tell that she was imagining their outing as if they were starring in a Nickelodeon after-school special. Finding the correct bus back to Petaluma had involved asking several strangers for directions, figuring out the underground rail system, and then sprinting with skirts, shopping bags, and hair flying to hop on the bus just as it was about to leave.

They congratulated themselves the entire way home on how they had navigated the system and what a success the day was. When you’re almost 16 and the world is your oyster, it’s a great feeling. Hang onto it.