Today I understood how Chuck Yeager must’ve felt when he broke the speed of sound, when no one knew it would result in what we now know and easily explain with a casual “Oh. A sonic boom.” Except this had nothing to do with aircrafts or super-duper speeds or record-breaking flights or loud noises.
But it DID have to do with a moving vehicle, 25-30 mph speeds, a “first time” experience and an uproar from my family.
My baby…first born…only daughter…miiiieeee baaaay-beeeee –released from my womb just five minutes ago, but somehow now morphed into an inside-and-out beautiful 14-year-old young lady drove a car (well, a truck) for the first time today.
December 2, 2006. The day Napoleon was crowned emperor of France (1804)…and the U.S. Senate voted to condemn Republican senator Joseph R. McCarthy of Wisconsin for “conduct that tends to bring the Senate into dishonor and disrepute.”(1954) …and The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) was established (1970)…and perhaps, most notorious, the day Britney Spears was born (1981).
I’m thankful to have been present for every milestone in her life, although it horrors me to realize I can’t remember all of them now. I remember being amazed at how well she nursed; so many of my friends and family had trouble with it they quickly gave up, but this tiny creature knew what she was doing as soon as given opportunity. I was certain she was a bona fide baby Einstein, the way EVERY first-time mom (and new dad!) deludes herself (barring complication); THIS for doing what comes as naturally as breathing and sleeping and peeing and pooping.
When she smiled ON PURPOSE at four weeks, in a moment’s turn, I knew I had a new vocation and would not be returning to my former dream job. I wasn’t one of those women who “just loved children” and counted the days until I could be home with them…this was a slow evolution for me. I recall a good friend offering a wise word of encouragement when I was struggling with insignificance…a scourge for the “professional” turned-stay-at-home mom–she simply reminded me I had been working in some capacity since high school, and this was a new phase of life…that I would actually have to learn how to be home with her. Somehow her matter-of-fact manner and assurance that it was o k a y to have to settle into this, made a huge difference.
I remember her first step at eight months–and her first stomp not long after. Obviously, an early walker, she was conversely a late talker. I worried, probably more about what other moms with children the same age thought, than about Rachel herself. That kind of thing just makes me sick now. I almost wince when I recall trying to coerce her (on more than one occasion) to “pray to receive Jesus in her heart” which I think now is neither scriptural nor what Jesus modeled himself. Her response? “Mom, I’m not ready…when I’m ready, I’ll pray on my own.” This wasn’t a tween speaking, this was a five year old. And one day she told me she had prayed, and that was about all there was to it…imagine that, without my “help”. :/
Jumping…riding a bike…learning to tie her shoes…turn a cartwheel…swim on swim team–and “win only the blue and red ribbons, not the pretty pink and green ones” (ha!)…brush her own hair, choose her own clothes, WIPE HER OWN BEHIND (a big “wahoo” and “amen” to that!). And read. And write. And WHATEVER! Gosh, if you have children, know some children, WERE a child, you KNOW all the milestones…I guess for me to reminisce is little more than a blogging Ambien to you.
But, if you have OLDER children, you know that as your children grow up, the milestones come fewer and farther between. Puberty. Driving. Dating. Voting. College. Legally drinking a glass of wine. A first “real” job. Marriage. Having a baby. Because there are fewer, their significance is magnified, perhaps even legitimately blown out of proportion.
But today. Today….
I wasn’t with her. I missed it. She was with Tad. He mentioned he might let her try it (she won’t be 15 til August, the legal driving age for a learner’s permit in TN), but it really wasn’t planned. I had a frustrating day of running the boys different places, frustrating more so because TWICE we got lost, and prior to that, were running late because the stuff we did early took longer than anticipated >:(. Minor, but annoying, and when it happens, I intimately understand “road rage”; if I’m not mistaken, my eyes turn red, my face turns green, horns sprout, and the thunderous, unrecognizable voice that bellows is not my own. My children become very, very quiet, I think they might even become invisible, they know it’s best to let my fire burn itself out. They’re all smart that way.
When Rachel called to tell me, the mother inside was shattered with a piercing sonic boom; I could feel the reverberations as every nerve in my body resisted this rite of passage. Time was spinning out of control, a familiar vertigo that knocked me off balance, unable to see into the future, only looking back. As I explained earlier, she WAS just born five minutes ago, I don’t care if we’ve celebrated 14 birthdays. How in the world did we get “here” in 12 blinks of an eye? Of course, the mother on the outside squealed with delight wanting to know every detail. I could hear her flushed with excitement, usually reserved for the eyes, but this time “seen” through my ears. She had to repeat it three times, once for me, then Stephen, then Thomas. Interestingly, they both wanted to know if she drove “over the bridge” at the front of our neighborhood; the next thing they asked was what it was like to go over the speed bumps. Funny, the things they wanted to know. They’re looking at her a bit differently now, with a reverence reserved for those lucky enough to have “d r i v e n a c a r”. If I’m not mistaken, I see a bit of sister worship going on. I think she just progressed on Thomas’ coolness radar, too.
And me? I’m writing about it so I can remember. The possibility of forgetting is enough to keep me up past midnight.
I look at my daughters with their children and think, “I was there yesterday.”
You, dear lady, just hit your own speed bump. And we don’t have to ask you what it was like, because you described in in perfect detail.
Oh no! Not another female behind the wheel!!
Heck, what did you expect me to say?
Pamela, I knew you’d know:).
WT, yeah, that (lol). But I must tell you, you should be a heckofa lot more worried when Thomas gets behind the wheel! :O
wow Robin, I bet that you are a great Mom and that choice you made back then is probably the best one you could have made. 🙂
You won’t forget…
In reference to DubYaT correcting me… my comment was prefaced by using James Coburn… “In Like F.L.I.N.T.” the 1967 sequel to the spy film “Our Man Flint”…not to be cornfused with Australian-born Errol Flynn in regard to his sexual seduction…”in Like Flynn”
Nevertheless, I am either “In Like Flynn” or “In Like Flint” whichever is the correct usage on the “In Like Recycling” challenge.
So there ! 🙂
and P.S… I won’t be correcting you on subjects I know nuttin’ about either…Giggle Giggle ! 🙂
How cool. Quite a milestone indeed. Wow, that’s a big one. Too scary for me to comprehend. I’m not allowing my kids to do that for, oh, another 30 years or so! I don’t even let my 9 yr old bike out of my sight.
(And as an insurance agent, I see what it does to premiums to have a teen driver in the household, yikes! Don’t let her get a license!)
At first I thought you were really writing about Chuck Yeager, and I got all excited, since I’m an aviation enthusiast and have seen him, etc. LOL! Great way to start to your story!
aww… it’s a change, but just like all of the other changes in her life, they will be gradual. Not too many split-second growth-spurts.
It’s pretty cool that she was excited to share it with you.
I certainly never told my mother the first time I got behind a wheel — it was on a country road, my friend had her mothers Mercedes … years later, I still won’t tell my mother.
Hey, I learned to drive when I was 7. But when the boys were learning we weren’t ready. I know Kila will understand what I mean when I say that, due to premiums and worry. Premiums first because they were outrageous. Jer did well, only one ticket. P3 on the other hand had wrecks and tickets, etc. So his was horrid. We were so glad when he finally got out of college. 🙂
Just think, with all this practice she will be a better driver. 🙂 Stay calm, and when you ride with her – don’t scream. 😉 just kidding!
Awwww, congratulations to her! That is really cool. ANd I know it must have killed you not to be there. I know exactly the feeling you described – almost a betrayal of your God-given right to experience everything in her life, right?? That’s how I feel sometimes.
I can also relate you the feelings you had as a first-time-stay-at-home mom. I was a professional too, and never had any plans to quit. Funny how plans change with a new human in your life, eh??
What a great post – I was sitting right there beside you as I read. I only have 9 more years to go before my baby boy will be 14. Please don’t tell me they go that fast. sigh…
by the way, my 3 year old is ALREADY driving – the little motorized firetruck. She’s ready for the big rig.
I feel this post.
Even in Hailey’s only 2 I can see her racing toward the door…toward the world.
I want to hold her back but I know I can’t.
This motherhood stuff is tough.
My daughter is 14.
You’re right – it was five minutes ago…and a lifetime.
I currently struggle with that whole motherhood question. To be or not to be? I know the answer will someday be “to be,” but I struggle with what that means. Entertaining children all day everyday. What do you do with them all day? Bathtimes and diapers and vomit. How to educate them. Sometimes I think it might be fun. Then I think of giving up my writing. Or not getting to practice piano. Or all those other sacrifices. Yikes.
I have tagged you back…even though your name was mysteriously deleted from the list on my post, you are tagged with the “6 Weird Things about You”…I remember a long time ago, you tagged me and I didn’t even know what it meant. So, here’s backatcha…
Swampy…”that’s” Willowtree or DubYaT or Pete or whomever he is…to know him is to love him? I had no idea what that expression really meant (doubtful I’ll be using it again 🙂 ).
Kila….the whole REAL driving thing scares the snot outta me! SHE will be as responsible as they come…but what about everyone else??? The “what ifs” could paralyze me if I was the type to be governed by worry. If I ever decide to “go” biographical in mind for a post, I’ll keep CY in mind; when I googled him, I was LOVING HIM! What a hero! His wife, too!!
LCO, did Malissa know before you commented here? She might tell on you!
Julie, I “hear” ya on all accounts! I DREAD insurance premiums. I thought about my “ranch & farm friends” when I wrote this–figured they drove a car before their feet reached the pedals;). But 7?????? YOU GO GIRL!
Thanks, Kelly…I HAD to write that night, ya know? It was late…the day had been f u l l, I was wiped, but had to write (lol). Sometimes now I wanna run back to work, though :/.
Karmyn, Know what your comment reminded me of? Those red & yellow “Cozy Coupes”…Rachel used to LOVE hers…so I get how Buttercup is already driving (Hmmmm, does driving you crazy count?)(j/k). I thought about her the other night when we watched The Princess Bride :).
Jenny, glad you stopped in for a visit :). From 2 to 14 took LESS than five minutes. I enjoyed every phase w/my kids, the good and the bad…the good were just…well, GOOD; and the bad? Well, my motto back then was “this, too, shall pass” :/. Two can be hard, but it can be stinkin’ adorable, too!
Welcome 14-yr-old’s Anon mom…who are you?? lol
Heather…..the first time I saw how selfish I was, was when I got married. The second time was when I had a baby. Imagine me wanting to use the bathroom without a kid attached? The humanity!! Best/hardest job I’ve ever had…cliche cliche :/ :).
Swampy…again…I’ll check it out…SIX??? ONLY SIX??? Whew!
Oh, no! I’m afraid to blink! How I wish I could freeze a moment in time! These moments when they are young and innocent yet drive me crazy!
Where does the time go?
And “blogging Ambien”? Not a chance. I enjoyed every second reading this.
ack! 14 is too young to drive! So is 15! And 16. 17. Okay, maybe 18. But then they are old enough to vote so they should be old enough to drive to the polling place, right?
They grow up too fast!
Your daughter sounds like a very wonderful young lady.
I hope you can survive the “learning to drive” phase.. my Mom barely made it! 🙂
Susan, I would love to sit for Funny Girl and Buttercup so you and Karmyn could go play for a day…and then take ME out for the night!! I’m glad you stayed awake for the whole thing (lol).
Sally, I am sooooo with you. I see these KIDS behind the wheel, and I don’t know who to be more afraid of…them, or the blue hairs driving 13 mph…:/.
Marnie, she is…she’s “better” than Tad or me on our best day, I’ve never met anyone like her. NOT perfect (things @ her do drive me crazy), but, gosh….she’s every parent’s dream kid. Shhhh, she doesn’t usually read comments, and has yet to read this post, lol.
When I learned to drive, there were @ half the number of cars on the road. THAT has GOT to make a difference!
I can’t imagine how you are feeling right now, other than what you have written. I can wait… My 5 yr old is 5 1/2, going on 30 as it is. It brings a lump to my throat just thinking about it, just like the day she belted out Baby Girl by Sugarland at the top of her lungs. If you haven’t heard the song check out the lyrics on the internet. We were having pancakes out with my MIL, Anna started singing. Mid chew, I started bawling, tears and other stuff running down my face. I am getting teary just thinking about it.
*sigh* But we can’t keep them kids forever can we?
Hmmm! I know just exactly who’s Mercedees that was too. I’m telling.
My oldest son drove off to school alone this year…I was scared, teary, proud, astounded that we were “there”. That place that seems so far away when they’re small and yet arrived so quickly. Was I ready for the moment? No…but I wasn’t ready for his first day at Kindergarten either. Make the most of the moments…even the smushed cheerio ones!
you showed up Malissa!
at least we didn’t drive out on the lake 😉
Oh yes – those milestones. Are you excited or nervous that she will be able to drive? But then again, maybe where you live it is not so bad with traffic.
I wish I could report that this milestone of driving was hit by our son 6 years ago, but he doesn’t want to drive – not even with 21…But he has his Associates degree and hopefully by the 18th of this month — his first real job…