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.