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all content 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005
Suburban Island

Driving Dream
Tuesday, May. 13, 2003, 4:45 p.m.

Question: Where are the car keys?

What I Learned: Everyone gets to drive someday.

Right before I woke up this morning I had a scary dream. I dreamed that my kids and I were riding along in a big SUV type vehicle. Except something was different - my teenage son was behind the wheel and I was sitting in the passenger seat - hey, what was this? My daughter was sitting in the back smack in the middle - the perfect position for a true back seat driver or bossy big sister.

I think I was supposed to be in the proverbial driver's seat but somehow slipped up and let him do some driving. It must be related to my struggle with being organized as outlined in my last Friday Five. Maybe it has to do with the fact I know I have to let him start taking on more responsibility for things I have driven before - homework, chores, etc. It's hard for a mom to let go and hand that responsibility over sometimes - even when she doesn't have the whole thing down perfectly herself - or especially because she doesn't have the whole thing down perfectly yet.

It's hard for kids too. It must seem like a big yawning cavern between 13 and 16 with the shimmering image of wheels and the elusive drivers license just taunting and teasing you every step of the way. Older sibling trapsing off here and there after school just like that. Everywhere you go, cool cars parked in front of the grocery store, next to your family's car on the road, or in the driveway across the street at the neighbor's.

Getting back to the dream --suddenly, he was careening down the road towards the interstate instead of driving around in circles in some school parking lot or going up and down some quiet tree-lined back street. There was no way to get off the interstate and he was coming pretty close to the curb as we flew down that ramp. I felt like screaming - we're all going to die. But I shut up and gave him some driving suggestions instead - I was probably yelling them but oh well - they were well meant. And somehow we made it onto the interstate and his driving seemed suddenly much improved like he was really getting the hang of it.

With that, the dream was gone - replaced by an annoying radio dialogue between two radio personalities who couldn't decide on whether smoking in restaurants was good or bad. If the woman with the raspy voice who wanted to smoke in restaurants could have, I believe she would have blown a smoke ring through my radio - that would have been more interesting than their hostilities but I need to wake up and you have to take what you can get. Anything is better than an annoying buzz.

Sitting in bed before jumping into the daily fray, I thought about my dream. I had no idea why I let my kid drive that SUV down that highway. When did I get out of the driver's seat? And when did we get an SUV anyway? Furthermore, my daughter can tell you that no kid of mine is driving on the highway until they have some serious driving under their belt. How did a kid who has never driven down the driveway wind up driving me and my daughter down the interstate? I know - someday it's going to happen. He's going to be driving - not down the interstate with no prior experience - but he is going to be driving. I think I'm scared. I think I just dreamed my worst case scenario. Believe me, that kid has a lot of school parking lots ahead of him but you know, I think it's going to be just fine when he hits the interstate.

So what happened here? I think the constant car chatter by my son including the routine repetition of the question - can we get a mustang?, a horrifying image in my mind of a demolished car that was the result of a recent local street race, my son going out to start my daughter's car at her request (talk about aiding and abetting), and my son's first lawn mowing job (all those whirling blades), made me realize that this kid really IS going to be driving some day soon.

That dream was scary but it was also reassuring. He did drive that car down the road and we all survived. Remind me to remember that when I hand him the car keys in a couple years. He's not going on any interstates though - at least for a while.

Details: coffee: turtle mocha + listening to: current hits I burned onto CD + thinking: What happens to the laundry detergent around here + observing: windy day and squirrel at the window + watching tonight: American Idol and Smallville.

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