Most of us have to start sometime, but for a parent it can be a frighten experience. The first car for your child. We knew long ago the day would come that our daughter would want to learn how to drive, and we were dreading it. She has her license now and has a good job, now she wants
her own car to get to work. We told her of the up-keep and maintained of it and the responsibility of being one young driver among millions now on the road, she understands that. But as a parent, I can’t help but wonder…does she really understand it? Now I know how MY parent’s felt when I started driving.
I remember my first car. It was a little white ford Buick with a red top. It was good on gas and got me where I wanted to go. I had to learn to put my own gas in it, because back then, the switch from some guy putting the gas in, to putting it in yourself was just happening. As time went on, I also learn how to check the oil and transmission fluids, and change a tire. Although I did not actually change the oil or transmission fluids, I knew when it needed more.
As a parent, we have to learn to let go at one point with our kids. Let them fall and get back up again, we are there just to soften the fall. We understand they too must learn just as we did on life’s road. Nevertheless, allowing your child to continue down the road alone from this point on, can be a scary time for both child AND parent.
Most of us can remember the fender-benders we had in our younger days, and hope our children grow older without even one. But isn’t that part of learning to driver better? No, I don’t mean the ‘hit the trees’ type of fender-benders, I mean the gentle kind, like when you back up from a parking space a little too fast, and hit the car behind you, or side-swipe the car next to you cause you didn’t turn the wheel enough. It’s all chalked up to learning.
I think what I dread most….is that first BIG accident. I didn’t have my first big one until my daughter was in 3rd grade I think, maybe 4th. I was married then, and we had bigger and different vehicles then. She had a “Breakfast with Santa” thing at school that morning in mid
December. We had left before dawn, about 7 in the morning. The highways were clear, a bit longer around to get to the school, but I was going to stay until daylight so I could take the back way home.
A couple hours later, I began my drive home, taking the shorter back way. About halfway, there was a curve at the stop sign, I got through that just fine, I started up the tiny hill after the stop sign, not going but maybe 30 or 35 mph when I hit black ice. There were a small patch of woods there, and I spun like a toy top into a big tree.
I was laid up for about a year after that, not being able to stand more than 15 minutes at a time for a few months. I had fractured my breastbone and twisted my back out of whack. It took me about a year before I could stand for a straight 8 hours…..I wanted to get back to work.
As a parent, we can only hope we’ve taught the children all we know and all we hope they know they can become. The right and wrongs of the world, the how to’s and the can’t do’s. The children truly are our future in this wonderful, wild world we live in.