Ling’s had her learner’s permit for a whole 12 days. I avoided driving with her the first week, when Scott took her out 3 times. I resisted her pressuring me to let her drive during our trip to Chicago. (“I’m 100% positive that it’s not in the rental car agreement to let an unlicensed 16 year old drive.”)
But then Monday night, exactly a week from when Ling got her learner’s permit, Scott booted me out of the front seat of the van where I was waiting for us to drive to a Japanese restaurant and redeem an almost expiring Groupon (yet again).
“Get in the back unless you want to coach her,” he said.
I got in the back.
There’s all this research out there about how fathers give their children independence and freedom far more than mothers—a reason fathers are so essential for child development. Well here was a case in point, because not only was she going to drive the ENTIRE family through crowded streets, ON THE HIGHWAY for the first time, but she also was going to drive our MINIVAN for the first time—the minivan that’s my ride.
Look, even I can’tdrive the minivan. I’m a poor to mediocre driver with subpar spatial-visual skills. The 2 minivans we’ve owned have each had their share of bumps and bruises due to me, and now Ling’s going to drive in the minivan ON THE HIGHWAY no less?
Scott warned, “You need to be quiet and let me coach her.”
I nodded and zipped my lips.
Until I couldn’t resist with a “Slow, slow, there’s a stop sign!”
Scott warned me again. But I couldn’t help it. Among the comments I threw out included:
·Stay in the speed limit—the speed limit’s 30
·Blinker, turn the blinker on
·Stop! Did you see the biker there?
·Slow, slow, SLOW
“Stop yelling at me,” said Ling.
“I’m not yelling.” And I wasn’t. I spoke in a quiet voice, but a voice that clearly held levels of panic and anxiety that might as well have been yelling.
Scott warned me again and again.
We got to the restaurant and back with no harm to the minivan, mild harm to our family relationships, and about 2 years off my life.
I’m not doing that again soon, I thought to myself.
Until the next day when it was time to go to the oral surgeon for Ling’s wisdom teeth consultation. Again, with only the minivan at home.
“Can I drive?”
Pray for me. As Scott said last night, “You don’t have the temperament for this.”