“What to Expect When You’re Expecting” and books by Spock, Brazelton and other child experts may walk you through morning sickness and stretch marks, colic and the terrible 2s. But those aren’t the most challenging milestones a mother will face.
Nope. I submit that high in the running for that honor is Teaching Your Child How to Drive.
You know how as a parent, you achieve moments of clarity that help you understand your own parents better? Moments that help you appreciate their hard work and sacrifice, help you understand the reasons for their consumption of beer and wine?
I had that last night (I owe you a series of big apologies and thank-yous, Mom and Dad). And I fervently hope I will be alive to see Catherine’s similar epiphanies.
Our neighbors are waking this morning, looking out their windows and surely thinking Basil and I drove home drunk last night. We did not. Catherine drove home and she was sober. It’s just that parking remains a skill in progress.
As does turning a sharp corner while keeping all four wheels on the road.
I shouldn’t be so tough — she’s actually doing REALLY well for someone who has been learning for just a few weeks. She stops when she should, has come a long way in making smooth turns, is alert and careful. And now drives more than 15 mph.
Last night, we had her drive us to a barbecue we’d been invited to and then drive home (one of the first times in the dark). She did just great.
But I remain banned from lessons.
I tried — very hard — to follow the advice of other parents who have been through this. Breathe, they instructed.
It was possible to do so until we took that corner (so sorry about the tire marks on the public right of way, Town of Greenwich).
And I didn’t drill a hole in the floor of the car using the air brake.
But that was because I was paralyzed with fear as we rode a little too close to the row of mailboxes on the next street. Honestly, if I had had the ability to move, I could have touched each one simply by sticking the top third of my index finger out the window.
It was then that — despite Basil’s calm voice of instruction — a gasp escaped my lips. Just one.
Basil and Catherine agree my mere presence (and white-faced countenance) added too much stress to the situation. I am flagged.
And that’s fine. Because I’m STILL waiting for my heart rate to return to normal.
Thank GOD I can buy wine in Connecticut on Sundays now.