Mother’s fear is not just about the new driver
Updated: February 19, 2013 12:57PM
WESTERN SPRINGS — I feel a general warning to the entire population of Western Springs is in order.
My son is taking driver’s education this semester.
You probably expect that my warning involves watching out for him as he uses our roads to practice, but that’s not the case. I’m fairly certain that Anthony is going to be a fine driver.
What you really need to watch for is a small black SUV, driving normally, except for the terrified, screaming woman trying to climb out the passenger window. That would be me.
I discovered during the months when my daughter was learning to drive that I am a terrible, impatient teacher of driving. That’s not to say that my daughter was a great driver the first time she backed out of the driveway. But she certainly wasn’t so bad as to warrant the incessant need I had to clutch the door handle and press my back into my seat while steeling my feet against the floor.
Occasionally, I’d scream out “Watch out!” or “What are you DOING?” or “Noooo!” in the same quavering, terrified voice one might use when being assaulted by a monster that had just dropped out of the sky from an alien spaceship. It’s a wonder my hand didn’t leave a permanent impression in the dashboard.
Of course, my fear is partly due to worrying that my life, and that of my family members, is in danger. When you’re being chauffeured about by someone whose entire driving experience has come from sitting in the backseat with their face pressed up against their smartphone, there’s really no reason to feel confident that they’re just going to slip behind the wheel and figure it out.
Then, of course, I’m worried about my car. I recently got a new car, in fact, and now I’m wondering just what in the heck I was thinking. I probably should have waiting until he was done learning, because now I’m going to be extra freaked out about dinged bumpers or, God forbid, any sort of major damage.
Then there’s the fact that I’m going to have to pay what is surely to be an outrageous amount of money to insure the car he’ll be driving. I’m going to need another job.
But the truth of it is that I’m probably not really terrified of the driving practice, or the possibility of an accident, or having to pay for the insurance. I’m really terrified that my children are, well, no longer children. They’re growing up. Amidst the getting of the learning permit for my son, we’re trying to decide where our daughter is going to go to college. This is it. They’re nearly adults, and before I know it, they’ll be out of the house, moving on, maybe getting married and having their own kids (I’m not ready to be a grandmother, by the way). Make it stop!
It’s true that I will be happy to never again have to hear the words “Mom, can I get a ride to...” But if I’m really being honest, I’d say “Yes! Absolutely!” to that question ten times a day if it meant that time would stop.
But maybe finding a way to sit patiently in the passenger seat is the same thing as feeling their tiny fingers gripping mine as they take their first steps. Remind me of that, will you, when I’m shouting “Save me!” out the window?
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