Scenes from the car

As my foot pushes an imaginary pedal on the passenger side of my one and only not-yet-fully-paid-for car, I yell, “Brake, brake, brake!”

“Mom, it scares me when you do that.”

“Really, son? Because it scares me when there are brake lights ahead of us at 100 feet, then 50 feet, then 10 feet and I don’t feel this car braking.”

“Mom, can you just try to be calm when I drive?”

“I’m calm,” I say, as my fingernails dig further into my palms.

“Just don’t yell anything because you’ll freak me out.”

“Ok,” I say dutifully.

As he approaches what should be our right turn, the car is not slowing. Keep calm, I think. Don’t yell. I see the street approaching, approaching—don’t say anything, I tell myself. But my hand, seemingly of its own accord, is wildly gesticulating to the right.

As we narrowly miss the curb during the turn, he says: “Mom, it freaks me out when you gesture like that. I thought I was about to run over a cat or something. Can’t you just sit and not do anything crazy?”


No talking. No gesturing.

And no alcohol.

This would be so much easier in a simulator with a margarita in hand.

I remember Safety Town. My younger son dutifully obeyed every red light. My older son zoomed through them. The teacher would ask him why he did not stop at the red light. His answer? “There were no police officers around. I looked.” He drove his little tricycle at breakneck speed, making throaty vroom sounds at every opportunity. He rear-ended drivers he felt were going too slow.

No talking. No gesturing.

And no alcohol.

God help me.


29 Comments Add yours

  1. Yeah at situations like moms, mine included, are more freaked out. In turn we children freak out. God that is an unending cycle

    1. candidkay says:

      You’re telling me:). Oy.

  2. I have a 13 year old son. I fear these moments ahead, then laugh and think..oh heck, why not!..get in and drive. You have a wonderful sense of humor.

    1. candidkay says:

      Thank you! When I’m not yelling I do:).

  3. Aunt Beulah says:

    I’ve never had the experience you describe, Kay, but you and your words made me feel like I did.

  4. I have young adult kids. Last year my son flipped his car over. Another driver on the highway a wonderful stranger, who just happened to be taking his daughter back to the same college, stayed to help. He called me and then gave my son a ride to his school. My step daughter got in an accident and totalled her car last week. Surprisingly neither one of these kids or anyone else got hurt. I say to myself God was with them and they will be more careful in the future. I know that the stories may not sound that encouraging, but I say trust that after you do all you can God and The Universe will handle the rest. Peace and Blessings.

    1. candidkay says:

      Wow! Amazing. And I’m so glad no one was injured. That’s God working overtime:). Thank goodness.

  5. srbottch says:

    A common experience for parents with kids. I don’t like anyone else driving except me, esp my adult kids. Stay safe and make him pay his portion of insurance for a wake-up call. LOL!!!

  6. LOL. Wait until the first time they take the car out without you. At night. Sorry.

    1. candidkay says:

      I am plugging my ears and saying “la, la, la, la” as you say that:). I can’t hear you . . . total denial:).

  7. The scariest moments of my life was teaching my then-16 year old son how to drive. My heart goes out to you. The good news is this doesn’t last forever. Stay strong.

    1. candidkay says:

      It’s always nice to hear from a seasoned veteran:). Eye on the prize.

  8. heyjude6119 says:

    Hated driving with my middle son. I would give “loving instructions”and he would argue with me. I finally told him I would no longer ride with him. Luckily his dad would. Do you have another brave adult that would spell you once in a while?

    1. candidkay says:

      I liken it to canoeing with a spouse. A true test of love:).

  9. RuthsArc says:

    Oh my. Good luck to you both 🙂

  10. Amy says:

    Ah, I remember those days! Thank you for making me smile! And may The Force be with you. xoxo

  11. G'amma-D says:

    LOL! Sounds like me and my husband. His driving…not mine. Sometimes I just can’t keep my mouth shut. Other times, like when I know he will miss the turn..I keep quiet on purpose. He will make some comment about me not telling him to turn. Then I’ll sweetly say with a wink, “Oh, I know how you don’t like me to tell you how to drive.I figured you were taking a scenic route.”

    Must be a man thing.😄

    1. candidkay says:

      You are a wise woman :-).

  12. says:

    I am so sorry & so laughing – sorry about that but I remember how it was w/ Rob – OMG – through the stop sign – VERY wide turns – going up on the front lawn of the house down the street – how he missed the mail box & tree I will never know – oh my – Pray that St Christopher is there riding shot gun = has he taken any driving lessons yet??

    1. candidkay says:

      Yes! Amazingly, yes:).

  13. Oh, Kay! We are in the thick of it. My son will be 16 next month and we’re on the cusp of driver’s ed. (Missed registration with the madness of our move.) Every other day I am both terrified and nostalgic for my own experiences. It is an exhausting and exhilarating ride! Cheers!

    1. candidkay says:

      Good! We can swap war stories:). Hopefully ones that do not involve traction!

  14. Haha … no police officers around – love it! 🙂

    1. candidkay says:

      He is quite a character:).

  15. Been there and I empathize with you and him both.

  16. Cindy says:

    You had me giggling in my chair! My mom still does those gestures to this day when I’m driving her- lol!! He’ll be a great driver- just wait!!

    1. candidkay says:

      Aha:). Now the truth comes out! Your mother and I have a lot to talk about, missy:). We can commiserate!

  17. George says:

    This is a difficult time and the feeling of hoping they are safe when they travel never goes away regardless of how old they get. Good luck.

    1. candidkay says:

      Yes! I don’t know which is worse. Having to ride next to him or thinking of when I won’t be. I think the latter.

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