Has my hair turned completely white? Is my face frozen into a likeness of the mask from Scream? No? Are you sure? Okay, that’s good news because I let my son drive this weekend for an entire 45 minutes….in a large, empty parking lot….at 30 mph. I understand it’s not doing laps at the Atlanta motor speedway, but it was his first time (that I know of) behind the wheel of a car. I had been dreading this moment for years, but after a great week at school for him, I kept my promise and there we were.
He was more careful than I expected and it only took about five tries at the whole “braking” concept to not send me flying towards the dash board. Thank God for seat belts! I was going to wear a bike helmet too, but I thought he might feel insulted. As he turned the corners, barely missing the curb with my brand new tires, I held my breath. I realized how new this all was for him when I told him to put on his turn signal and he looked at me quizzically after trying the windshield wipers and the sunroof buttons to no avail. I started singing “Let’s start from the very beginning, it’s a very good place to start” in my head a la Julie Andrews, but kept a serene smile on my face for his benefit. I vaguely remember how exciting and overwhelming it felt to drive 25+ years ago for me.
We wheeled around the church parking lot for a while and he got a little nervous when a darting Miata got within 200 yards of us, but he kept it together. I smiled as I watched him from the corner of my eye, focusing on this opportunity with rare seriousness from my boy who is 6 feet full of bravado and swagger. With the windows down and a warm September breeze blowing through the car, I tucked away this memory. I know the moments of us all being in one place at the same time will be few and far between as he gets older, so I will enjoy this now. I have a little more time of driving together with him, then he will be ready to drive away on his own.
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