For our child. Enabling her to get behind a wheel and drive a car. Legally.
I'm tellin' ya, this child was just in preschool the other day. Seriously, she cannot possibly be old enough to operate a moving vehicle. But the state says she is, so it's all legal-like now. Time flies, and I've gotta hustle to keep up with it.
So Saturday afternoon, I figured I should let her give driving a try; after all, we must start logging all those hours sometime. I told my husband I was going to let her drive around our very quiet block a couple times in the Suburban. He wisely suggested she drive the Astro instead (duh? what was I thinking?). I'll tell you what I was thinking - that she would be a driving expert on her first try.
That is not exactly how it went down.
We got in the ol' Astro (fondly nicknamed the Deuce), and I realized I better tell her a few things before we started moving (are you shocked at my naivete about this? Obviously I needed to show her things before we started moving - what was I thinking?). After I gulped down my fear when she suggested she use her left foot for the brake, I gathered my wits and showed her all the basics on the dashboard. With my feet firmly planted, my hand on the dash and my heart in my throat, I suggested she put the van in drive and ease off the brake.
We were moving. So far, so good. After about 10 seconds of driving, she overshot her first turn. She got to practice putting the car into reverse in the street (something I reminded her to never do again!) and tried again. We made it this time, and she began to accelerate. She floored it. . .to about 10 mph. Dear readers, 10 mph never felt so fast! It felt like we were going 70. "Slow down!" I
yelled calmly instructed. "We have to turn again in just a sec - and there are several parked cars you have to navigate around!" She slowed, with an exaggerated sigh, and managed to drive between the parked cars, with nary a fender bender. We made it home and then did it again, this time slightly slower, and with no missed turns.
Later, we ran to 7-11 to get our free slushies (did you get yours yesterday?), and she (jokingly) suggested she drive us there. I practically fainted.
Apparently I am a control-freak as well. What if she panics and pushes the gas instead of the brake? I was sitting helplessly in the passenger seat. She's a very responsible girl, logical and smart. She actually did just fine for her first attempt -it seems I was expecting perfection right out of the gate.
When our youngest gets her permit, I'll probably be reclining in the passenger seat with a coke and texting pics of how cute she looks. I doubt if I'll be freaking out like her older sister experienced. My husband and I will know what we're doing in this category on the fifth go around. My poor first child - getting to pave the way for her sibs.
So if you see my daughter driving the Astro, and you see me in the passenger seat, white-knuckled, say a little prayer. Not for her - she'll likely be doing fine. But for me, a control-freak mamma who can't believe her daughter is old enough to be licensed!