I’ve done this twice before so it really shouldn’t be that big of a deal, but it is! She’s my sweet baby girl, and now she’s learning to drive. I have to say, she’s pretty good at it. She can drive in straight lines, change lanes, use her turn signals and can almost park…she needs to pull all the way through to get my boat into a spot properly, but she can do it without parking like a jerk. So you would think this would truly be no big deal for me, but ~ really it is.
The one thing she does that has me cringing in my seat, grabbing the overhead strap and white-knuckling my way through a trip with her is the fact that she goes waaaaaaay too fast. She has an overly-strong attachment to the gas pedal, and she downright hates the brakes. She has always loved the feel of wind blowing through her hair when we’re screaming down the highway with the windows down and the music cranked. She’s the only one who will indulge me in this little joy of mine. It messes up Lucas’ hair, and it’s too loud for both Stan and Zach. So she’s used to going fast, wind rushing through the car and the tunes pumping, but that’s with me behind the wheel. She doesn’t have the skill set to be able to do any or all of that at the same time, but she thinks she does…so the gas pedal downs down, the speed goes up and the brakes are rarely applied in a timely manner (but, thankfully, the music is off).
The mantra I have beating out through my heart and in to her head to her is “Gotta slow down, Claire Bear…Gotta slow down, Claire Bear…Gotta slow down, Claire Bear.” But gawd, do I need a fricking chicken brake because my words are not really working, and so it has me wondering if my mantra has turned into a metaphor. Is it that she’s really going too fast or is it that she’s growing up too fast? Is her speed a factor, or is it that I’m afraid we’re racing toward some hazy finish-line she sees, and I don’t? The one where she’s off on her own, traveling the highways of life with the windows down, the music cranked and me in another car trailing slowly behind her.
I always thought the last kiddo would be the easiest, but it’s not ~ and it never has been. Sending her off to kindergarten, brought as many tears to my eyes as it did with the boys. She was the one who sobbed hysterically at the thought of leaving elementary school and going on to middle school, which was never the case with her brothers ~ they both did celebratory moving-on dances before the seats of their elementary school desks had a chance to cool. Taking her to high school orientation last year was harder than it was with the boys probably because I now know how quickly these years fly by and are an absolute blur. Sooooo…I most definitely need a fricking chicken brake, because I really need her to slow down!
Oh, for the love of my children…