Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Learning the Rules of the Road

Well, Davis has started working with Carson on his driving.  Yeah, he's got several months before he can get his driver's permit and be legal on the roadways, but we don't let that stop us here in Mississippi.  What we do is.....we take them to their grandparents' pasture land and start their lessons out in the middle of nowhere.....where they can't mame anyone.  Sure, it poses a threat to the wildlife and the fence rows, but trust is in the best interest of mankind to do it this way.

I, myself, have washed my hands of giving kids driving lessons.  Blair almost did me in.  My knuckles stayed white as they clutched the door legs held out straight and heart pounding......screaming at the top of my lungs, "For goodness' sake, Blair, slow down!"......."Mom, I'm going 25!"  It's amazing how fast 25 seems from the passenger seat next to a new teen driver, who doesn't have the foggiest idea what she's doing.  It feels like supersonic speed.   

I decided I just don't have what it takes to teach the children to drive.  Maybe it's my need to be in control.  Maybe it's my lack of patience.  Maybe it's my desire to live.  I don't know but I've never really enjoyed careening off the road or traveling in the wrong lane.  I'm just silly that way.

None of that seems to bother Davis, so I just make sure the insurance premiums are paid and send them on their way.  I mean....I birthed the children.  He can teach them how to drive.  Both situations are frightful and laborious and can benefit from the use of heavy medication.     

I remember when my Daddy taught me to drive.  He made all of us, kids, learn to drive on a stick shift, so that we'd always have that ability.  We always started off in the church parking lot.  I don't know why.  I don't know if he felt that being near the Lord's house would offer us an extra measure of protection or if he just thought it would look upstanding if his obituary read that he'd died at church.  Either way, when you mastered the church parking lot, then you graduated to some quiet, desolate roads.  It was a while before we got into any traffic.  He'd make me stop on a hill and take off again.  After rolling halfway back down, I'd either finally get it going in the right direction or it would go dead and he'd grab the emergency brake.     

Yeah, when Carson went driving the other day, I thought........well, here we go.  Driving is that one colossal step that they take away from you.  It's the step that makes them more independent.  When they start to drive, they don't need you quite as much.  It's the end of an era. 

We've ridden together for so long.....since he was in the middle of the back seat in his rear facing baby seat.  He'd scream when his pacifier fell out and I'd try to do what I could from the front......dislocating my shoulder or whatever it took to get it back into his mouth.  Then he got big enough to turn around and I could see his little face in the rearview mirror.....asking me to play the Barney song one more time.  Next came the booster seat....all those years of finding Goldfish and Cheerios between the seats and, oh, the sippy cups with curdled milk that would surface after a month or two.  For years, he patiently sat in the back waiting until he would finally weigh enough to sit up front with me, where he could, at last, reach the radio knobs. 

I've taken him to preschool, soccer practice, orthodontist appointments, baseball games, church activities, and birthday parties.  I've picked him up from school when he was sick or had hurt feelings.  I've sat and listened to him talk non-stop for our entire ride home....spitting out all the details from camp.  I've smelled the sweaty, little boy smell that would fill up the car after ball practice.  I've driven him to the doctor, while he filled up a barf bag that I was so glad I brought.  I've run myself ragged going from one thing to the next.  Somehow, oddly enough, I'm not ready to give that up.  I know things won't ever be quite the same.

I remember when Blair drove off all alone for the first time.  She drove herself to church on the day that she got her license.  There's nothing like that feeling.  There your baby to maneuver the highways, four way stops, the turn lanes and railroad tracks. 

What if she doesn't stop?  What if she forgets to merge?  What if she causes road rage?  What if? What if?  What if?  A mother's mind can be her worst enemy.  When they leave the house in a matter how much you trust them......there will always be visions of daughters like this......

and sons like this.......
Yeah....this is not the most relaxing time of parenthood. 
So, the way I look at it.......I have a little time before I will have to release my last baby out into the streets.  To find his own way.  To make more of his own decisions.  To need me less.   

There will be fewer moments with the captive audience that my moving vehicle provides.   

It's coming. 

Too soon.    



  1. had me in stitches and then I about cried!

  2. How is he old enough to even THINK about driving?! And the visuals... LOVE it!

    1. I don't know how it happens, Joy! Miss Avery will be driving before long! ;)

  3. My husband always starts our kids in our pasture! They are used to handling a vehicle by the time they can get their permit. Then I am the one who takes them out driving and he teaches the parallel parking park and viola' another driver. We've taught 3 so far, the next on will be next May. She can hardly wait!

    It does become so convenient to have them take themselves or a sibling somewhere and you don't have to do it!


    1. Sounds like y'all have it down to a science! Do you hire out? :)

  4. I am RIGHT THERE WITH YOU! My oldest has her driving permit and I’ve all but died and come back to life in the passenger seat. I now allow my husband the honor of letting her drive HIS car. I miss my small hometown in times like these where if you missed a turn, you ended up unharmed in the middle of a field. We need to pray for one another!

    1. Hahahahaha......that's hilarious.....yes, fields are good. :) Let's do lift each other other up in prayer!

  5. Makes me remember the time my youngest son pulled out in front of a truck and almost killed us all! My older son and I are still traumatized by that. Kinda glad we are finished teaching kids to drive. I only have boys, but your vision of a son's driving is exactly right!

  6. Oh my word, Denice!!! That's enough to traumatize anybody!