So, Hope recently got her learner’s permit. As we walked to the car with her permit in hand, she asked, “So when do we hit the roads?”
LOLOLOL. *wipes tears*
Um, no dear heart, when do we hit the parking lot is the better question.
Then she tells me she has this checklist from the DMV.
That’s cute, we’ll get to your checklist, but for now, I need you to leave that at home.
So, on the way back from Costco last week, I pulled over into the elementary school parking lot and declared that the first lesson was happening now.
So…yeah, that happened. I nearly got a cramp in my hand from holding the door handle so tight as we jerked around the parking lot. I screeched a few times to STOP. Hope eventually found her footing a little and stopped reactivating my whiplash from my summer accident.
In 15 minutes my sweet girl realized that driving was more technical than it appeared, my hair became a little grayer and my life probably shortened by a day or so from sheer fright.
The second time we rolled through a parking lot we learned a bit about pulling and/or backing into parking spots and turning. We only hit a curb once.
I’m also grateful for review cameras on cars. Whoever came up with that idea is an effin’ genius.
Anyhoo, today I took Hope for her third parking lot lesson. There were 4 cars parked in this HUGE parking lot. We were nowhere near them. Hope got behind the wheel of the car and began to speed across the parking lot towards the sidewalk.
*SCREAMING* “Wait! What? Where? What the hell are you doing!!!????!!!!!”
“There are cars in this parking lot!!!”
“WAY OVER THERE! BUT WHY ARE (tries to modulate voice) you driving across the parking lot like this.”
“I don’t know.”
“STOP THE CAR!” #drivingtrauma #jerkystop #myneckhurts
We finally got it smoothed out and eventually Hope drove all the way around her high school and parked kinda sorta near the cars.
In all, Hope is actually taking to driving quite well, but she’s exhausted after a short lesson because the lessons make her anxious. I try to help her have fun in this process. It’s making me remember how stressed my parents seemed when I was learning how to drive. I’ve chuckled more than once thinking about Grammy reaching for the dashboard and hitting the imaginary brake on the passenger side of the car.
On the way to our next destination after today’s parking lot triumph, I asked Hope if the practices mad her anxious. She said yes, but that she was always anxious in the car. Huh?
“Yeah, I’m anxious in the passenger seat.”
“But why? Do you worry about my driving?”
“No, in the passenger side, I don’t have control of anything. Now, in the driver’s side, I’m in charge of everything. It makes me nervous.”
Ahhh, here I am thinking that driving represents freedom, and Hope is thinking about crushing responsibility. Yes, driving comes with responsibility…a lot of it, but I always thought it was counterbalanced by the freedom to go.
For Hope driving is a metaphor for her life. All those years when she had no control over anything that was happening to her or around her, she was just a passenger in her life and that royally sucked. Now she’s transitioning to the driver’s seat and learning how to run her own life. After such a rocky start; it’s hard for Hope to understand that this transition is natural and to be expected and yeah, it’s a bit scary, but also super cool.
It’s in these moments that I’m reminded that Hope isn’t quite ready to grow up. I wonder if she wants to just maybe get a little bit of a redo on her childhood. And as much as I want Hope to catch up to her peers developmentally, I’m suddenly finding myself a little happy that 1) she recognizes that she’s not ready, 2) I get to have more a little more time with her doing the day to day mothering. Momming is hard as hell, but gosh, I dig this kid and I enjoy being her mom.
In the last month or so, I’ve been intentional about dragging her out of her room and spending time with her. She’s funny, goofy, smart, empathetic, stubborn. She both is and isn’t the kid I met 4 years ago. I’m just digging having this time with her.
Even when I am gripping the door handle of my car as she builds her confidence about driving and living.