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Teaching My Son to Drive Comparable to an Amusement Park Ride
The First Lesson
As my son was growing up, I never really thought about teaching him to drive. I did that assuming thing…….I assumed either my oldest son or my husband would be one of the chosen ones. Well, here it is …..the time to teach Johnny to drive. My oldest son lives too far away, and my husband has been very sick over the last few years He is unable to teach him to drive.
A job….I did not apply for has now landed in my lap. Heaven help me…………..please!
My fifteen year old son has never been behind the wheel of a vehicle. That, in itself, is your first clue as to how this story is going to play out. Needless to say, he has only had two…yes two…..lessons from Mom at this time. I need time to recuperate.
The first was just a few times around the local Walmart parking lot late at night. I wasn’t about to put him out on the road with other drivers. He didn’t do too bad. However, I realized his sense of perception with distance was not as it should be. I should have realized then, he needed a few more parking lot trips before allowing him access to the open highway. It was the normal teaching a new driver stuff. He would hit the brake a little harder than he should, plunging the seat belt into my chest. If it was not for the security of the seat belt, I may have become a hood ornament. Then we had the acceleration which was the equivalent of taking off in an airplane. As I became a part of the passenger seat, I was thankful I had had enough common sense to use the parking lot first and not the highway.
The Second Lesson
Then approximately a week and a half later, I decided to allow him to drive the less than ten miles to our house from the same Walmart. The thrills and chills were on their way, and I didn’t even know it. He gradually eased out onto the highway. Okay, I think we will be alright. Wrong! The fun was just around the corner. Not!
Let me give you the layout of the road. We are TALKING about the winding, roads in West Virginia.
He started out slowly, but as he gained confidence he increased his speed. Which would have been fine, if we were not heading into a curve. Okay, we made it through the first one with me directing him to get off the white line and to slow down going into curves. I kept explaining to him one should never accelerate in the middle of a curve. Typical teenager....'okay mom...okay mom.'
You could feel the panic in him every time a car approached from the opposite direction. He would wander aimlessly toward the white line. I’m sure the gentleman following us thought I was practicing to become an air traffic controller. Each time I would let go of the “oh sh*t” handle, I directed him with fingers pointing and hands waving to move back between the yellow and white lines. Yes, I did forget to mention most vehicles are equipped with “oh sh*t” handles for times just like this. These are the handles on the ceiling of your vehicle just above the windows.
I said my prayers and several ‘hail maries’ praying for this trip to soon be over. I just wanted to be safe in my own driveway………….. no dings, no dents, no heart failure or anxiety attacks. Just as I thought he was getting the hang of curves, there it was! A car coming at us in a curve from the opposite direction. He made his dash to the white line, and all I could see was the guardrail coming closer, and the river on the other side. I felt as if I was on a roller coaster ride and at any minute I was going to fly off the track. However, if I flew off this track I was going to be taking a very cold dip in the frigid river. The air traffic controller in me took over once again. I directed him back between the yellow and white lines. He regained his composure, and we made it through the curve once again. Whew! That was a close call!
Finally We Reach Our Destination-The Driveway
As we pulled into the driveway, he drove slightly off the gravel and into the wet yard. Once again, he stomps on the brake. The stronghold of the seat belt plunges me back into the seat. Of course, the car skids to a halt. So proud of himself, he looks over at me and says with a big smile, “I didn’t do too bad. Did I?”.
As I pried my fingers from the ‘oh sh*t’ handle, not wanting to discourage him, I replied. “No, honey, that was fine. We just have a few more things to work on." I sat there for a minute regaining my composure and popping a xanax to calm my nerves. I made a decision. I was going to wait a little longer, before we attempted the next lesson. Then the light bulb came on, maybe I will sign him up for driving lessons instead!