Our family of seven has just welcomed our fourth driver. Wife and I are hoping to delegate some of the errands to the children very soon should there be a time someone or something need to be picked up. This child has just received her learner’s permit. We patiently wait until she can get her license and drive on her own. In the meantime, we continue with our diligent parenting and errand-running, waiting for that moment when Wife and I can just sit back and let one of the cherubs handle it. Until then we sit… and wait… and hope.
Another one of The Gaggle is the latest one with the learner’s permit. She and I went out to the driveway she she could get a feel for what it’s like to be behind the wheel. She made it abundantly clear she had no intention of actually driving the car. She just wanted to get in the car and see what it was like.
I gave her the keys and we got in the car. She started the engine. She was ready. She didn’t think so but I informed her she was. I told her she had prepared for this day. She took a test and passed it. I reminded her she really had prepared herself.
She put her foot on the brake and put the car in drive. She never took her foot off the brake. She just put the car back in park. She released the brake and the car rolled an inch, maybe two inches. She let out an excited cry. She wasn’t expecting the car to move at all. I patted her on the shoulder and told her how proud I was. It was a small step, especially for someone who was more than a little apprehensive about driving. We went back inside and told Wife about the big first step taken. Later that afternoon, we drove to a parking lot. The Gaggle refused to drive there, even if it was just a question of making three or four turns without really leaving the neighborhood. She didn’t care. She didn’t want to and I wasn’t going to kill what smoldering confidence there was from our driveway venture.
I drove us to the parking lot. I killed the ignition and switched seats with her. I wanted her to to it all, including starting the car, as simple as that may seem. She got in and adjusted her seat. She adjusted her mirrors. She started the ignition and made a face like she was operating a loaded tank. Driving and firing. She wasn’t ecstatic about this. I was excited for her and didn’t understand why she wasn’t feeling the joy. I think I may have been excited enough for the two of us.
She took her foot off the brake and we rolled forward. She wasn’t interested in picking up any speed. We did 5 mph. I’m not exaggerating this. She did a couple of laps around the parking lot and practiced parking a few times. She did well. Towards the end of the session, I asked her if she was feeling dangerous. If so, she could bump it up to 10 mph. She did. It was exhilarating. I don’t think she had ever been in something so fast before in her life. The driving came to an end. I asked her if she wanted to drive home. She emphatically refused. I drove us home. She spent the night recovering from the adrenaline rush. I’m looking forward to our next driving lesson.