Of course I knew this day would come. I dreaded it and embraced its possibilities all at the same time.
As I reluctantly dropped my son off at his first day of driving school, prayed that he would pay attention, absorb all of the important info that would help him become a safe driver one day.
Just as I did on his first day of kindergarten, I parked my car and waited instead of driving away. This gave me a front row seat to other parents’ experiences with the initial drivers ed drop off. Some barely stopped the car for their spawn to get out. Some gushed and hugged and tearfully drove off, one dad gave a playful tough-guy arm punch and as his son turned around to wave he gave a hearty thumbs up and smiled proudly as he parked his car next to mine and we exchange our dorky “Yes, I am a proud over-attached parent” crooked smiles and waited for our children to return.
He came out of class excited, Rules of the Road book in hand and ready to take this journey. In turn, I was excited for him……and terrified.
As the classes progressed, I stopped waiting in the parking lot. In hindsight, that was the first step to acceptance of this new phase in his life. He tested, and passed all required exams. GULP. This was for real.
I couldn’t bare the trip to the drivers’ facility and asked the hubster to take this one. They drove off and returned within a matter of a couple of hours, the younger with permit in hand and bragging rights having driven for a short while with his dad.
And then it happened, there he was, sitting in the driver’s seat in the Costco parking lot. He looked thrilled and scared. I really couldn’t say if his fear was of the actual act of driving or of my critique from the passenger seat. I am self-admittedly over-opinionated, and recognize how that must suck when you’re my kid and about to drive with me for the first time.
He checked all of his mirrors, buckled up and slowly let go of the brake. We were moving, albeit veeeeery slowly, forward towards the end of the empty aisle. By God, he was doing great. He made turns with ease and even pulled into a spot, reversed to perfect his position, and pulled back into the aisle for more practice. And then it hit me, the same child who once held my hand to balance as he learned to walk, was now driving me around in a car. Has it really been 15 years already?? He was becoming a self sufficient young adult. I teared up a little, but didn’t let him notice. “Want to drive us home?” I bravely offered. He paused and said “Could you?……I don’t think I’m ready for that yet.”
Neither was I. Aaaaaaaaand my baby boy still needed me. I happily switched seats and headed towards home.
God help me when he heads off to college, but I’ll take one baby step at a time.