If you’re a licensed driver with two parents, there was probably some discussion among them about who would be the one to teach you how to drive. There is always a nervous one and a brave one. I suppose if you had a single parent who fell into the nervous category, it may have been a job outsourced to an uncle or an official driving school if you were middle class enough.
Nervous teachers make nervous drivers and nobody needs that! A healthy respect for the rules of the road and the dangers associated with operating a two ton vehicle are expected, but random gasping and white knuckled handle gripping certainly doesn’t help build confidence.
I received driving instruction from my mom, as it was my dad who was the nervous one. For my husband it was his mom who taught him in her white mini van because his dad yelled too much.
My mom had a blue Buick Century. It was a powerful machine. I was so nervous the first time I hit the gas, I burst into tears.
I remember my mom took me to the big empty parking lot in front of the government center. To ease the tension, she made little thump sounds when I got too close to the invisible parked cars. It was a steep learning curve. Once I even drove up the wrong side of the road. The drivers of the cars facing me were actually pretty cool about it considering the circumstances. Mom and I were both screaming, of course.
After the incident, mom had me pull over while our heart rates returned to normal. I started to take off my seatbelt to switch drivers, but mom said I should “get right back on the horse” or I’d be too nervous to drive again.
My dad had an even crazier incident when he was learning to drive. His mom was the nervous one. Actually, they were both rather nervous, but Nana refused to even try, so the job fell to Pop-Pop. As the story goes, a STEAM ROLLER fell off the back of a truck and started rolling towards them. Instead of hitting the breaks, Dad swerved onto the shoulder to avoid being smooshed. Once the dust settled, Pop had to convince my sixteen year old dad to get back in the driver's seat. Teaching a kid to drive is not for the faint of heart!
Come to think of it, I did have a couple of weeks of official driving school. In the summer I held my learner’s permit, since my birthday was in the Fall. The instructor was a nervous man with fingernails bitten down to the quick. He insisted on having every window open and the Howard Stern Show blasting on the radio at full volume. Since the guy had to be heard over the whooshing wind and shock jock mayhem, he yelled all of his instructions.
Some people say that driving is fun, but I don’t enjoy it. I just like the freedom of being able to leave a party whenever I want.
We recently bought my daughter a new (refurbished actually) bicycle at a local shop. When we brought it home, my husband took a nap and said I should teach her for some “mommy daughter bonding time.” She already figured out how to pedal but had difficulty getting started. She made me steady the bike then let go about two hundred times. When I suggested that she try scooting off the curb with one foot to get herself started, she screamed at me. She told me to go away. I made a few more attempts to help, then gave up and let her watch T.V.
The next day, she went out with her dad and within five minutes she was ready for the Tour de France. They let me know that they discussed it, and decided that he would be the one to teach her how to drive a car as well.
Was I upset ? Not one bit. Did I agree with them that I was not right for the job? You better believe it! I would be gripping and gasping my way to a heart attack and my daughter would probably never speak to me again. I am happy to bestow that honor to my husband. Mommy daughter time will be spent elsewhere.
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