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It’s About to Happen…

Well, it’s about to happen.

A long time ago my dad took me to a wildlife refuge area near our home.  He got out of the car, he switched sides with me, and he let me sit in the driver’s seat.  We were in a light blue 1986 Oldsmobile Ciera.  It was the newest car we had ever owned, and he let me drive. I was so not ready.

This was it. I gripped the steering wheel, I glanced over nervously, and I focused.  I focused hard on not screwing this up.  I put the car in drive, and I slowly inched forward. Well, I attempted to slowly inch forward.  What really happened was more of a car lurching forward dangerously close to a ditch.

Needless to say, a gravel road doesn’t have much traction.

This was something my dad did with me a lot though.  He was patient.  He got annoyed occasionally, and he believed I could do it.  After all, he was the one teaching me.

My sister learned to drive using his 1970 Plymouth Road Runner.  He never once let me drive it (well, except for the times he put me on his lap). I remember her getting her first car, and the dashboard catching on fire while she was driving it. I remember her slowly rolling her car into the front of our house because she was distracted. Then there was the time she ran into the back of a parked car because the sun got in her eyes.

I vaguely remember taking my Driver’s Test. I really wanted to drive to the mall first.  He said I couldn’t yet.  He did, however, allow me to drive it around our small town to gain more practice.  He let me drive it to school and work.  He believed in me, but he was scared to let me go.

The first time I drove to the mall by myself, I didn’t tell him.  A couple years later, on that same highway he didn’t want me drive on when I was younger, I wrecked.  I wasn’t hurt, but I did hit a guardrail going backwards at highway speed after spinning out.

I remember my first ticket.  I remember my second, my third, my…OK, I stopped counting. I do, however, remember wrecking my car pretty violently.  It wasn’t my fault, but it happened.  My little Mazda B2500 pickup truck flipping over the highway ended with me on a stretcher in the back of an ambulance.

I have had almost too many cars to count since I’ve been driving.  Had I listened to my dad a long time ago, I may have had 2 or 3 by now.  Kids are stubborn.  Kids have to learn mistakes on their own.  They have to learn the hard way sometimes.

Putting yourself in debt over and over again is fun, right?

Driving.  It’s not a right, it’s a privilege.  Right?  But yet, every day, kids line up to take their official “Driver’s Test.”  They are all ready to be a big kid.  Every day, parents have to worry about their big kid getting behind the wheel of a car.

Now, instead of a boombox sitting in my passenger seat that my parents had to worry about, I’ll have to worry about the phone sitting on my daughter’s seat.  I’ll have to worry about how many distractions her friends will cause.  I’ll have to worry about where she’s at, and if she made it there safely.  I’ll have to worry if she’ll be able to keep a cool head, and not overreact if someone cuts her off.  I’ll have to worry if she’s the one cutting someone off.  I’ll have to worry about if she’s using her blinkers correctly, and if she’s driving defensively.  I’ll have to worry that she may get a flat tire, or run out of gas.  I’ll have to worry about semi trucks on both sides of her on a highway.

Then again, maybe I won’t have to worry about a thing.  After all, I did help teach her.  There’s not a whole lot I can do about it anyways.

Either way, and whether I like it or not, it’s about to happen…