Tuesday, September 8, 2009

learning to drive

On the last day of August Jamie drove us through the busiest part of town at the busiest time of day. And we all survived. And we laughed. She's ready.

She still needs to practice parallel parking. She still needs to drive at night, and in Minneapolis, and in the rain, and on snow. She still needs to figure out what on earth 90 degree backing is. She still needs to scrape an icy window at 6:30 am and learn how defrost works at 30 below zero. But she's ready.
And the calendar page turns. Another last is gone, another first is here.
I never planned to teach Jamie to drive. That job was assigned early to her laid-back, relaxed, patient, long-suffering, encouraging, loving Daddy! A much better fit for my creative, fun-loving, nervous-to-drive artist.
Did you know it takes several whole minutes in the drive just getting ready to safely start a motor vehicle? And then you have to remember to actually start the engine before attempting to shift to reverse. Getting down the driveway with an "otter" child is a party, I can tell you. Every time.
Accelerator and brake with just one foot. Adjust your mirrors and check your blind spot. Maintain speed through the lane change. Observe grandpa's 28 eye motions per minute. Slow down soon enough at the stop to keep your passenger from bracing herself against the dash. "Share" the road. And the parking lot entrance. Do you see that parked car?! That pedestrian? The motorcycle? And left turns. About left turns. Left turns are better than a cardio stress test - my heart is just fine, thank you.

I'm so glad I was there. I learned how to drive all over again. I got several hours alone with my daughter. I got to sit and watch. Actively listen and respond. A miraculous change in seats from driver to passenger and passenger to driver happened as naturally as the change of seasons.

I can't bear to think what I would have missed if I hadn't been in the passenger seat when Jamie learned to drive. I was there when the season changed. I saw the calendar page turn. And we're ready...

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