One of my most favorite things about being a parent is watching my kid do something for the first time. It’s also one of the times it’s easiest to fuck up as a parent. Knowing when to lend a hand or hold back as they struggle with mastering a skill is hard. We have always wanted to teach resourcefulness and resilience but when you know the answer to a problem it’s hard not to just blurt it out or take over a hard project. Because competing with our parental desire to equip our kids with all the right tools for success in life is the desire to protect them and keep them safe from all of life’s harms or challenges. It’s a constant internal war of worry for them and pride in them.
Right now I am so proud of our boy. He’s handling this growing up thing pretty well. One of the things he’s started doing for the first time is driving. He’s taller than me so sitting in the driver’s seat he has to actually adjust the mirrors. So far it’s short trips around the neighborhood or practicing parking in a empty parking lot and nothing on the main streets but still I’m working on practicing my own patience as I sit beside him and encourage or guide him on learning this new skill. It won’t be long before he’s out driving around on his own figuring out his limits and that of the car he’s driving. He’ll be meeting friends or going to school or making a run to the store for his Mom.
All of that future crowds in on me while I remind him to turn on his blinker before the turn and to be a little more gentle with the brake. He’s ready but I’m not ready for him to be ready! These memories will be what I remind myself of when he’s off on his own to convince myself we’ve done a good job making a Thinking Human Being instead of just a cog in the machine. For now though we just need to make sure we all survive him learning to drive.