Teaching driving to littles that it seems like you gave birth to yesterday is hard.
Extra hard with sprinkles on top.
You begin with the standards.
Red means stop.
Green means go.
Yellow means slow down and make your mother happy by stopping at the intersection.
Railroad crossings are bumpy and should be driven through with extra care.
You remind them about turn signals and seatbelts and checking the rearview mirror and yielding at a four-way stop and to never text and drive and you cross your fingers and ten toes and hope that it all sticks.
You wonder if they hear you. You wonder if anyone is listening. You wonder if they’ll remember what you say when you aren’t there anymore.
A day shows up that you never expected.
Yesterday I stood on the porch and watched the car back out of the driveway.
It kind of started and stopped a few times and then it turned the corner and with one spurt of an energetic push on the gas pedal, it drove out of sight.
Driving away with two twins.
And I wasn’t in it.
I tried to occupy myself with a zillion and one things. I cleaned the counters and did the dishes and answered e-mail and swept the floor and then swept it again just so I’d have something to occupy my hands.
But my heart wasn’t in it.
My heart was in a car that was hopefully driving 35 miles an hour and staying in the lanes and stopping at stop signs and steering clear of all the dangers on the road.
Two hours later the car returned home.
I ran and sat on the couch as if I hadn’t been watching the windows and when the twins burst through the door I nonchalantly looked up.
As if I barely noticed they were gone.
“How was it?” I asked in the super casual voice of a mother who wasn’t worried at all.
“Mom. MOM. MOOOOOOOOM,” the twins replied in unison. “We each drove one way and got to church and back and stopped at all the stop signs and kind of got stuck at an intersection, but we remembered all the rules and WE MADE IT. WE MADE IT MOM.”
They made it.
Another milestone. Another step in a journey that grows ever shorter…
….as they prepare one day to fly.
I smiled at them when they told me and hugged them and told them they were amazing. But inside? Inside I was SCREAMING. I want to press the pause button and yell at them to stop. I want to grab them by the tail and tell them I need an extra minute to catch my breath and adjust.
Adjust to taking cartoons off the channel rotation.
Adjust to cars leaving the driveway without me.
Adjust to baby steps turning into long-distance running.
I’m so proud of them. Truly. I’m so proud of the young women they have become and the mountains they are going to climb and the incredible worlds they are going to conquer.
Just between us?
I’m worried I’m going to get left behind.
And as I stood there with worry and consternation mixed with joy and pride all rolling around in my head, something amazing happened.
A hand slid into mine.
And gave my hand a squeeze.
As if to let me know it was going to be okay.
As if to let me know they understood how hard it was to let go.
As if to reassure me that no matter where they traveled, no matter how many miles they drove, no matter where life would take them…
….I’d always be their mother.
And they’d take a piece of me wherever they go.
PS I found this old picture of the twins driving their first car. With my new driving perspective—all I could think was KEEP YOUR HEAD INSIDE THE WINDOW. 🙂
PPS I just posted a new YouTube video showing you how to make one of the easiest bows on the planet. You can see it here.