- Kristan Higgins
Teaching Dearest to Drive
Updated: May 3, 2022
Me to Dearest Son as he practices his driving: "When we're in the car, I'm not your mother. I'm the voice of God. Got it?"
Dearest: “Yes, Mother.”
Me: “Try again.”
Dearest: “I’m not going there.”
Me: “I think you meant to say, ‘Yes, God.’ I would also accept ‘Yes, my Lord.’”
Dearest suppresses a snicker, then remembers he is a world-weary teenager. “Don’t tell me anything. I’ve been driving for eight months now. I know what I’m doing.”
Me: “So you don’t want me to tell you when you do something that would fail you on the driver’s test?”
DS: “No, tell me those things.”
Me: “You just went over the line. Fail.”
DS (another heavy sigh)
And so it goes.
The truth is, Dearest is a very safe, competent driver. Having lost a family member to a car accident, we take this stuff very seriously. We started off driving in empty parking lots back in the fall, then graduated to roads where he’d clench the wheel and say “What do I do? What do I do?” when a car approached. Sometimes, I’d have to reach over and gently (or forcibly) steer him away from the curb/tree/pond, but I kept calm.
When I was learning to drive, my mom used to grab the door handle as if she were about to launch herself out of the car; I tried not to do that with my kids.
I never yelped or shrieked in terror, though I’ve been known to say, “Slow…slow…slow down…slowslowslowslow!” Otherwise, it’s been kind of a piece of cake.
When Dearest gets his license, I’ll miss our drives together. We’ve had a lot of great conversations in the car, same as when he was a little guy and never stopped talking. The other day, when he successfully backed into a parking spot five times in a row, he put the car in Park and jumped out and hugged me tight.
These are the moments we mothers live for.