I taught my oldest son to drive this fall. Truth be told, the first time we backed out of the drive way and drove down the street together, with him in the driver’s seat and me in the passenger’s seat, I was nervous and scared. To be sitting in the passenger seat with no control over the vehicle as your first born drives you down the road into the unknown, is a frightening thing!
As we started driving down the rode together, I couldn’t help but flash back to when I taught him how to ride his bike when he was little. I remembered the first time I let go of the bike and he was able to ride away, a little wobbly, with out my help. It was a happy but nervous event for me. I was initially thrilled that he had learned to ride his bike but as I watched him go down the side walk and get further and further away, it hit me that I no longer had control of where he was going. I could no longer run along side him and catch him if he fell or steer him if he lost control. At that moment, my mind started to play all the typical bike accident scenarios in my head as he became smaller and smaller as he rode further and further away. Of course, he eventually turned around, came back towards me and all was well. As he approached me on his bike, I realized that as he learned to ride his bike I learned something too. I learned to let go of him a little more.
Flash forward twelve years or so and there we were sitting in a car together with him driving us down the road. He was trusting me to give him correct instruction as he navigated us and I was trusting that he would listen to my instruction and not crash. We had a few stressful moments as we worked through the complexities of a left hand turn at more than one intersection and how to merge on the highway, but we made it every time. We nearly got into an accident once in a parking lot, which was not his fault, but still an anxious moment from which I hope he learned a lesson. Even though he did a good job and we had no serious mishaps, I have to admit there is probably a dent in the passenger’s side floor where my right foot pressed the imaginary break peddle numerous times!
Eventually it got to the point, just like when he learned to ride a bike, that he needed to go down the rode without me. He needed to drive down the road on his own and I had to trust that he would come back safe. Later in the fall, he passed his driving test on the first try. He now has his license and has taken another step towards becoming an independent adult. Similar to when he learned to ride his bike, I learned a lesson as well. I learned to let go of him a little more, again.