Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Am I Ready For This??

My 15 year old son received his learner's drivers license a month and six days ago. Yesterday, he took his maiden voyage. Under the supervision and tutelage of a professional driving instructor, he finally got behind the steering wheel of an actual car. This (in my world), is as it should be ...

He got the call that he would go for his first lesson the night before. I dusted off my parent's manual and patted myself on the back for following my instincts and leaving the teaching up to the pros. Everything that I read in the parent manual seemed to compliment my thinking. It spoke of the 'layering of learning' that is necessary when a new driver gets behind the wheel. And the manual said to 'confer with the instructor' about what had been taught ...

I was very comforted by the fact that the professional instructor would teach the basics and I would just be 'along for the ride' and provide support, assistance and guidance in my role.

I am not a teacher. I know many things. But that does not mean that I can translate my knowledge (that is instinct, muscle memory and very little conscious thought) into words and instruction. Ask me any question under pressure and my answer will (more often than not) be a fist clenched, eyes-squeezed-shut, exasperated cry of, "I DON'T KNOW!!!!"

Place a novice driver and almost 3,000 pounds of moving metal that is weaving in and out of traffic with that equation and this spells disaster (in my opinion).

Was I happy to have my son in the capable hands of a professional driving instructor? You bet your boots I was!

This is a driving course that is provided through our education system. There were thirty scheduled hours of mandated classroom instruction combined with six hours of in-car instruction. My son has completed the classroom instruction Yesterday was the first hour of six driving hours. After six hours of basic training, I would be ready. Never mind my son. It is of utmost importance that I am ready for this before we get behind the dashboard of a moving vehicle.

You can imagine my dismay when my son drove up to the house after only 45 minutes of instruction, with the added information that there will be no more lessons until school resumes. We are on our own!!

One would think that this would be nothing for a mother of two adult sons. I've been there and done that all before.

First of all, I have absolutely NO memory of ever driving with my Oldest Son when he was learning to drive. He learned through school and I believe that he came home with a passing grade and a driver's license in his hand. That was twenty years ago. A lot has changed ...

... and I believe that my Second Son may have been partially responsible for the changes that happened after he received his license. Yes, I am exaggerating ... but from where I sit, I believe this to be (partially) true.

My experience with my Second Son is only eleven years old so it is a little bit more vivid of a memory. I remember that he learned to drive at school. And we 'practised' after he received his driver's education hours with his instructor. I also remember that during that 'practise' phase, he hit a parked car. Twice. Let's not talk about how many vehicles he went through after he received his actual license. Let's also not talk about how my Oldest Son totalled our family's one and only vehicle ...

Am I just a tiny bit apprehensive? Yes.

I am making some calls today. I have a family member that is a driver instructor. I will ask for advice. I will call driving schools and see how much it would cost for some in-car driving lessons. I don't have money but that is a minor obstacle.

I'm thinking that my two older sons could help subsidize this driving instruction in some way. They are (in a small part) responsible for my nervousness. My Youngest Son has reminded me that he is not them. The past does not indicate the future.

But my concern? I am the common denominator here. I am simply not prepared to take this on again. My heart rate has increased and my palms are sweating as I sit here typing this (while My Youngest is sleeping soundly in his bed). I'm not ready for him to wake up.

I'm sure I'll be laughing over all of this in ... oh ... about ten years. I think that is about how long it took for my memories to fade before. But then again, my short term memory is fading fast. Maybe I'll wake up tomorrow morning and forget yesterday ever happened.

Am I ready for this? Time will tell ...........

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