Like most suburban moms, I spend a great deal of time in the car, driving kids to school and activities and running errands. I gripe about the cost of gas, being caught in traffic, and how hard it is to park my gargantuan minivan (which I will replace with an environmentally superior hybrid as soon as I don’t have 8 carpools to drive!), but mostly I just take driving for granted.
However, my oldest is studying for his learner’s permit, and suddenly he’s given me a whole new perspective on driving. David studies the online tests, quizzes me about signs he doesn’t recognize, and constantly begs to practice in the local parking lot. His impatience reminds me of the thrill I felt when I got my license, that combination of terror and elation at the thought of being independently in control of a ton of mechanized metal.
I feel like a cliche with all my jumbled emotions; disbelief that my baby is old enough to drive, nervous at the thought of him on the road with all those idiots out there, and of course excited at the prospect of him taking over some of this endless driving. And in the spirit of his enthusiasm, I try to visualize my 16-year-old self, eager for every minute behind the wheel (“Mom, you need me to run any errands?” “I’ll drive the hebrew school carpool!”) while simultaneously trying to ignore David’s running commentary on my driving (“Isn’t this a 55-mph zone?” “You forgot your turn signal”). Nothing like a brand-new driver in the car to make you appreciate driving AND pay attention to traffic rules!