Getting Started

My first inclination was to provide practice time for my son’s first drive in a place that was safe, off the street, and quiet.  He was not at all interested.  First he said that he didn’t have his permit.  I brought it with me, I countered.  Then he said that he was too tired.  It was an evening after his second swim practice of the day, and he had sandwiched in driving school.  I thought about how often I am probably too tired to drive, and honored his comment.  As we drove off the empty college campus, I reflected that this was a great safe place for a first drive.  I was sure that we would do just that later in the week.

The next day, we met my sister at a busy Starbuck’s in a strip mall location near a bustling grocery store.  This parking lot has more inlets and outlets than I could easily scan, and hundreds of cars parked at any given time.  As my son bounced out of driving school and greeted us, he offered to drive from there.  Whoa! Not so fast, I thought.  There are a hundred obstacles that could pop up in this parking area, not to mention navigating tricky egresses into traffic.  His bravado was more for his aunt than for me, and was likely a reflection that with me, he needs to be in a safe place.  When he is with others, his bold character comes right to the top.  I am not sure how I will approach this as he begins to learn to drive.

After his next driving class, he reported that the instructor said that he might need to send a permission to drive note home with him, and that he got less practice than the other students in the class.  It may be no surprise then, that his father managed to shepherd the maiden drive (moving from one spot to another in a parking lot, no accelerator, just using the brake).  I may need to crawl down from my “Cliff Huxtable” approach to driving and be a little less theoretical, and more practical with the boy.  Or I may end up as his chauffeur for life.  Maybe my next book should be about the Chauffeured Generation…

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