My son who turned 16 last month drove his car by himself this past Tuesday (6/2/15). He was driving to a friend’s house. I watched him back out of the garage and drive off! I kept watching until…I was left in silence and an empty spot in the garage.
This was moment of truth for me, the mom! As soon as I saw my son drive off, I was instantaneously pushed to accept the fact that from this moment onward, the cord has been cut! Cut by the law…I felt angry at the law. The law no longer required a parent to be seated in the car with him. He was now allowed to drive by himself out in the world. And, believe me, he seemed perfectly happy about that fact.
I told my son two things that my Dad had told me when I was learning to drive – One, to keep two car distance between your car and the car in front of you, and two, to slow down when you see yellow light in order to stop on red. My dad’s reasoning behind that was to simply teach us good driving habits – to drive with a relaxed mind! He had said once that yellow means to slow down not speed up. He had also said that it generally took only a minute for a light to change from red to green. Passing down driving advice to my son has forced me to look into my own driving habits!
My car is my second home. I am in it a lot. While in it, I am generally tuning my radio to the news or music. Less than frequently and more than rarely, I’m eating in there, too. My favorite car food is a yummy peanut butter & jelly sandwich on toasted wheat bread slices. I accompany that with a bag of Frito Lays Corn Chips! (You say, it is junk food. Yes. But please, I’d like to keep this habit going). This lunch is the best! It’s a combination of sweet, salty, gooey and crunchy! No fuss and no mess! Also, I take a mug of hot tea. I’m happy sipping on it as I drive to my next destination. Everything is cozily placed right beside me…I like that! My Dad would not like that at all. He considered eating in a car to be a big distraction. But I cannot help it. So, as I am driving and eating and drinking and listening to the radio; I’m also, at the same time engaging myself into my thoughts. I think about my day, my week, my year, and frequently about my life, and purpose of my being here on Earth. My thoughts travel from my kids, my husband, my friends, my dogs, to the people who I have met momentarily, but who have had a meaningful impact on my life. Sounds pretty deep! And, definitely not what you may call – a relaxed driving:). It is for me though.
Talk about a bigger distraction here! Thomas and Dixie, the two family dogs, are in the car with me more times than less. They are my additional source of entertainment (or distraction), however you may want to look at it. (Dogs in the car would be a big No if my Dad knew about it).
Dixie, my pit-lab mix loves to lunge from the back seat to the middle front of the car between the two front seats. She has come to maintain a great balance to avoid falling when I step on my breaks to slow down or to stop the car. Her lean strong body is a constant reminder that I need to go up a notch on my strength training :)!
And, then I have my sweet beagle, Thomas, a royal dog by all means! He loves to stick his head out through the back window and enjoy the breeze!
One hobby I’m mastering while driving is taking pictures using my iPhone. I then post some good ones on my Instagram account. It’s called earthproject101. Please look at my gallery🙏🏼.
One of the main reasons I drive a lot is because I take my daughter, five days a week, to a local animal shelter which is about 25 minutes each way. She plays and walks these dogs who are awaiting adoption. Driving my daughter back and forth from the shelter gives us an opportunity to have some quality time together. Usually, she plays her music and then tells me about the dogs she spent time with. She also tells me about the dogs she’d be walking the next day. Occasionally, without any warning, a difference in opinion may catch fire and turn into a blazing disagreement. If there was one CRAZY HUGE distraction, this one is it for me, this one is the ultimate. This requires that I gently park my car on the roadside shoulders until all parties calm down. Boy! This is easy said than done!
Despite those hard moments, driving does give me a sense of peace! It happens when I finally find myself alone in the car! I have complete control! Complete control of the music being played, the volume, the thermostat, and the fan speed. But the icing on the cake is having the control to choose silence in the car. The sounds I do hear in that silence are the humming sounds from the approaching cars whizzing by me, leaving me behind. Soothing to my ears! (Crazy but true).
Admittedly, I lead a distracted life inside my car, but I make sure I follow core rules to be a safe driver. Those core rules my Dad lovingly instilled in me, and those same rules I’d pass on to my son, and my daughter when she drives. Core rules: To keep two car distance between my car and the car in front of me, and to slow down at yellow light in order to stop at red – (Because in about one minute the light will change to green). At the end of the day, my car is a place and a space I wholeheartedly cherish. And, at the end of the day I would like for my son to be a safe driver! By the way, when my son returned home from that first solo drive from this past Tuesday, his first words to me were, “Independence, finally!”
🙋🏻 until next time…