Last night I had insomnia, and as I lay awake, I thought about the upcoming visit of my daughter and her family. That led my stream-of-consciousness mind to reminisce about last summer’s spectacular vacation when we rented a big house in Truro on Cape Cod and our whole family was together. My older granddaughter flew here to Virginia from Michigan and spent a week with us, and then the three of us drove up to Connecticut where we met my daughter and the rest of her family at my mother-in-law’s and spent the night before we caravanned the rest of the way to Truro and joined up with the Boston kids.
Even though we stopped in Connecticut before reaching our destination, the drive up from Virginia took nine hours. I thought about that and wondered if my daughter worried about us as we drove all that way. After all, we had her sweet child with us on that long drive. Was my daughter’s heart in her throat until she saw we had safely arrived with our precious cargo? We appreciate that she trusted her dad’s driving, but no matter how safe one is as a driver, other drivers may not be. It is a scary prospect being entrusted with someone else’s child.
The reason I thought of this is because that same granddaughter is about to start taking driver’s ed. Having raised three children, I know what worry that prospect brings to parents. I remember after my little sister, Karen, got her driver’s license, I got in the car with her so she could drive me somewhere. I was more than seven years her senior. I looked over at her and said, “Since when did they let babies drive?” She laughed, knowing I was teasing her, and said, “Well, someone’s got to drive old married ladies around.” I can picture her face so clearly, the big grin stretching ear to ear. Though I knew I was the same age when I got my license, looking at Karen made me see how young that really was. Now my granddaughter will be the “baby” in the driver’s seat.
So I say this to my daughter: Make the Tortoise read this. I know you will tell her all this yourself, but maybe hearing it again from her Mimi will add emphasis. Make her understand that when she drives her little sister around, when she ferries her friends to swim practice or a school event or the movies, she is entrusted with another person’s child, an awesome responsibility. Tell her she needs to keep that in her head every time she gets into the driver’s side. Remind her that whenever she drives, she is carrying precious cargo. Even if she rides alone.
I suppose we all have to carry some amount of invincibility around with us, or we would never leave the house!
How true, Margie. Wonder how old we were when we lost it? I can’t remember.
Wonderful post! It is so frightening to see your child get behind the wheel. When mine got their licenses I was both relieved and horrified. Thanks for sharing this. DAF
It’s something all parents can identify with, DAF. That and potty training, though that isn’t nearly as dangerous.
I love this post!!! It’s true that young people probably don’t think about things like that when they start driving (we probably didn’t either). With age comes wisdom!
Young people seem to think they are invincible, Dianna. Guess we did, too, as you say. We didn’t have cell phones, though, and kids today have that as another distraction.
Oh, if only every young driver realized exactly what you wrote — they are transporting precious cargo! You put this all so well and it resonated with me today since there have been 4 young people die in tragic car accidents recently in our area.
I lost two of my former students in a car accident, Mama, because they weren’t wearing their seat belts. The police said they would have survived.
Great post. Those thoughts should be included in the driver training handbook.
I’m so glad I don’t have to go through that time again as a parent, Patti, but I don’t know if it’s any easier as a grandparent. At least I won’t know when she’s driving.
That is a good thing, not knowing. I think about my granddaughter learning to drive on I-95…Yikes!
And I think of all the snow and ice in Michigan, Patti. Yikes!
I hadn’t even thought of that! We place our precious cargo in Bigger Hands able to care for them.
Yes, it’s a scary thought putting new drivers (and old) behind the wheel. She’ll be fine!
I know you’ve been through it, too, Lisa. Remember the nights we waited up or lay in bed staring at the ceiling until our teenage drivers were safely back home?