Monday, September 20, 2010

Four wheels to freedom.......

............."I've been drivin' all night my hands wet on the wheel,
There's a voice in my head that drives my heel".....................
I can't even begin to count how many times I have heard these lyrics to Radar Love, by Golden Earring while driving down the highway.  Yet the moment the lyrics begin the volume in my car automatically gets turned up waaaaaay too loud.  Its a perfect song for driving down the highway and singing at the top of your voice while tapping your fingers to the beat of the drums.    I know you have all done that a time or two, and I am sure most of us cannot seriously carry a tune, but who really cares?. When you are behind that steering wheel, unless your not alone in it, a vehicle is YOUR own personal bubble.  Its your way to connect with the outside world, get you where you want to go, yet it always provides you with your own distinct space.  You are the boss behind these four walls.  
This topic came to mind as my daughter has just started to drive recently.  Although she got her learners right away, it took quite a bit of coaxing to actually get her behind the wheel, and start to put her new found learners permit to the test.  She wanted to drive, but was a bit apprehensive of the next step.
 Slowly, as her own friends also began driving to school, each others homes, to the mall, or the coffee shop, the realization of what she was missing became apparent, and finally one day she asked me to let her drive.
 I cannot stress to you what is more nerve wracking???  letting your child get BEHIND that wheel for the first time OR you being the passenger in your own vehicle with YOUR child driving.  I do not know who was more nervous at that point, me or her?......Deep inside I knew she was capable yet, I was afraid for her.
It's like approaching a young deer on the side of the highway from a distance and observing what appears to be its own first encounter with the strange blacktop surface.  You see it on the side of the road as it tests out the pavement with a few reluctant steps.  The road is strange and unfamiliar, yet it somehow knows that it must cross in order to move on and flourish.   Step by step, it gains confidence, then bounds very quickly into the safety of the dense brush on the other side of the highway. You feel relief that it has made it, but sad to see it go.  I think letting your child grow up and move on is similar in many ways.  You are afraid for them, but you know it is something that they must do.  Its an important part of their independence and of your own.
I remember the day I took my own road test. I was nervous as the instructor quietly instructed me to turn left, turn right, stop, go, and parallel park.  I remember watching her from the corner of my eye she held her clipboard and made a few short notes.  My palms were sweating as she reminded me to keep my hands at "10 and 2"....."not too fast"......."don't forget to shoulder check".......As more time went by, it seemed as though she would record even more and more notes.  That test that seemed hours long really only took less than one.  As I drove along the boulevard back towards the registry, I saw the trees flash by in a blurr beside me yet it was like time stood still.  I wanted to hurry back, but I was afraid of the test results.  I could see the registry building at the end of the road and I slowly turned in.   "Congratulations, you have passed.  You may go in and fill out the paperwork"  It was a simple statement, but this statement would change everything.  Looking at my drivers license was like holding an official document allowing me to embrace my new found freedom.
Much has happened since that drivers test. I got my first car.  My freedom allowed me to pick up my friends and spend countless hours cruising the boulevard while dreaming about what our life would hold for us.  I have been a designated driver, but not enough for some. I have enjoyed the drive in theater and A&W drive in that no longer exist.   I have made life long friends and lost friends in a parking lot, and even met my future husband there.  I have discovered that I am hopeless at reading maps, but have somehow made it on my own to nearly every spot on that same map. I have driven myself to a doctors appointment that told me I was going to be a mother for the first time, and have driven carefully home with that same precious cargo. I have spent countless hours driving to work, the grocery store, and home. I have laughed, cried, and spent many hours thinking while driving my car. I have driven my children to daycare, preschool, kindergarten and now high school. Some things have changed since I first started driving, some things have stayed the same.
Not tomorrow though because it will not be me behind the wheel.  It will be my daughter.  Soon she will have her own four wheels to freedom and I will just be along for the ride.
........"No more speed, I'm almost there. Gotta keep cool now, gotta take care.  Last car to pass,
now here I go"............Radar love.............

1 comment:

  1. Oh my, that song was on a single tape that we had in the truck my first years driving to and from the Fort - it would always gets turned up! It is such a pleasure reading your words as it brings back clear memories of my first years up there and although I first met you at your trailer in Gregoire - there were many that I met on corner parking lots along Franklin. In Calgary we didn't have that same culture of cruisin the strip. I thought it was strange, yet wonderful... I also remember how gradually it wasn't our group of friends and the younger kids took over the tradition.
    Driving is freedom in many ways - and letting the kid start to do so is nerve wracking! We follow behind you as our eldest approaches 16. And I will resort to lessons for her to relieve some of my nerves...otherwise letting her fly free with four wheels under her may not happen for a ling, long time :)L