I have a very vivid picture of my son as a three year old that runs in a constant loop through my head. CARS had recently released, and he was officially obsessed. We purchased all the toys, and he laid for hours on the floor in our living room reenacting each scene from the film.
He had a head full of white blonde hair, a smattering of freckles, and he couldn’t say his ‘R’s’. He was a tiny, perfect little person…and then I blinked my eyes and he grew up.
That same boy is now almost 6’2″, has light brown hair instead of blonde, smells like a man, and is still obsessed with cars. Only the cars he prefers these days are of the full size variety, not the toys that have long laid discarded in a box in the closet, saved for the next generation of blonde headed babes.
I don’t quite know how we made it to this point so quickly, but here we are teaching a child that I grew inside my body to operate a vehicle, and I just don’t even know how we got here.
I recently strapped myself into the car beside him and looked over at his massive hands gripping the wheel, and all I could think was I used to hold that hand while crossing the street.
Then he glanced over at me and asked why my face looked weird and I was all, “MY face doesn’t look weird. Yours does!”
Clearly, I am handling this new phase of life well.
Truth be told, I’m excited for him to get his license. This is the child that wants to be early everywhere we go. He’s the one standing by the back door in a huff, grumbling that we are taking too long. I look forward to sending him on his merry way so that the rest of us can get ready in peace.
I also look forward to help getting all the humans inside my house to their various activities. An extra driver is going to be useful, and as long as I don’t dwell too long on all the things that could possibly go wrong behind the wheel of a car, I find it an exciting prospect to have him driving.
But getting to the point where we can confidently send him out into the world inside a giant, moving, hunk of metal is what I’m struggling with.
We have to teach this child to drive – to operate a vehicle. We have to sit in the passenger seat and let him try it.
This is the part where I would insert a wide-eyed emoji for good effect.
He recently began the online portion of the test to get his driver’s permit, and I sat down with him as he went through it. About ten questions into the test, I began to wonder why I had a license myself!
Let’s just say I was glad he wasn’t asking me for help with the questions because I couldn’t answer half of them. Then I began to panic that I was now responsible for teaching him to actually drive the car, and I don’t know how many feet we should keep between ourselves and the car in front of us on the highway.
It will be fine. We will be fine, right?
I need lots of pep talks right now. Lots of them. Because when I sit next to him in the car and watch him put his foot on the pedal and begin guiding us onto an actual street with actual cars who are actually moving, I freak out just a little. Only on the inside, though.
On the outside, I am cool as a cucumber. I offer smiles and encouragement, and keep my voice gentle as I remind him not to get quite to close to the mailboxes on the side of the road.
We’re going to do this thing. We are going to teach our child to drive, and for my part I will do my very best not to pump false breaks in the passenger seat, not to gasp and screech when he turns too close to the car beside us, and not to make him a nervous wreck on the road.
I can do those things. It’s going to be fine. I can handle this new phase of life.
What I’m not sure I can handle is the image of the little boy laying on the living room yelling “VWOOM VWOOM!” as he pushed Lightening McQueen across the floor that has permanently fixed itself in my mind.
And this is the part where I would insert a crying emoji to really prove my point.