When my firstborn was a young child with a little boy voice he used to exclaim, “Mom I’m growing up fast!”. I’m going to quote my grandmother here and say “Tell me about it”. Yesterday my husband and I stood outside and watched the driving instructor arrive at our house, honk his horn and orient our firstborn to the controls on the dashboard of the car he’d be taking his driving test on. A look of fear was written all over his
face as he backed the car out to depart for the MVA. I expressed my worry and my husband said “we’ve done all we can for him, it’s up to him now”, and he was right. We’d gone through “look both ways, come to a complete stop, watch your blind spot, check your mirrors, signal your intentions” over and over again. Now it was time for him to apply it. Driving is a major right of passage and these right of passages are becoming more intense. As a freshman we watched my father stand behind him as the Bishop anointed him with the Sacrament of Confirmation. As a sophomore we picked up the pieces when his first girlfriend broke his heart. As a junior we watched him cross the stage to receive his class ring and officially become an upper classman. Now he was about to embark on the scariest right of passage yet, driving a car. Independently mobile. Putting his life and the lives of others in his hands. For me the act of letting go and allowing my child to drive without us is unnerving, yet seeing him fail the driving test would be painful too.
After he pulled away my husband mowed the lawn and I went to the gym. I said a prayer when I knew he’d be testing and had a vigorous work out.
My husband was finishing the lawn when I returned home from the gym. The text came just as I’d gotten out of my car. “Guess who passed their driving test” was typed in all caps with exclamations. He did it! My husband and I cheered victoriously as if our favorite football team had won the game at the last second.
I’ll always worry but I’m going to enjoy this right of passage of our son’s because he’s just so proud. In three more years I’ll have an instant replay when we experience this with our daughter.