Funny that John Mayer came up in rotation as I was taking Gloria for her first experience behind the wheel of the car. Staying inside the lines will no longer be an arbitrary rule but one she’ll be following for the rest of her driving days. “You want to take her driving or should I take her crying?” was Mark’s question to me. It has been a tradition in our family for the men folk to take the women folk out driving and the day is not complete until said female is in tears. My dad did it to me. Mark, as patient as he was with teaching me to drive a clutch in our dating days, has carried on the family tradition, making both of the older girls cry during driving practice. It was time to initiate Gloria into the club.
I’m not necessarily the most patient person in the world but memories of my Dad frantically telling me to “STOP” when there was no sign and “WHY ARE YOU STOPPING?” when there WAS one makes me a better driving instructor, at least the first few times out. Empathy makes for strange bedfellows. This is one bonding issue between teen daughters and their mothers and it's not limited to my family. One of Glo’s friends had the same experience with her dad this weekend and determined that “mom’s are calmer units” after just one trip out with Dad. We no longer have Monkey Wards’ big empty lot for the first teen drive but Mall 101 on a Sunday is available. Once Glo was settled behind the wheel, seats moved, mirrors adjusted and “can I have music?”, we had our first issue. “Put your foot on the brake”. “Which one is that?”. Good point. Pedal configuration. Check. “Do you mean just put my foot ON it or push it down?". Dang. Give clear instructions. Check. When she turned the key and the car started at her direction, her eyes got plenty big. Not unlike when, as a baby she figured out she could shriek REAL LOUD. Oh Lord, give me strength to get through one more teen driver….. e drove up the rows, signaled our left turns, signaled our right turns. We did some slow donuts in the center to get a feel for the turning radius (in my car, we can turn inside of about four parking places). I directed her to pull into a parking place. Good job, now back into the parking place behind you. “You’re kidding!” Using her mirrors, she executed it perfectly. Twenty minutes later, she parked it satisfied she had the ability to drive. After another errand or two, we did a few laps of the far back lot at Bayshore Mall. It won’t be long and she’ll have her own set of keys. *sigh* But I vow to all of you, she will NOT carry passengers for the first year. She will NOT talk on her cell phone while driving. She WILL not be allowed to forgo the rules just because it is more convenient for me. Promise! Mark will take her out next.He is much better at the technical skills.He sets up cones to drive around.He makes pretend streets with imaginary stop signs…there will be backing up long distances…he’ll work on parallel parking (he can parallel park his truck WITH a trailer on it…he’s AMAZING!). Oh yeah, he will also make her cry --it’s tradition.