The Backwoods

Where we teeter between our love of modern convenience and the yearning for something long past; a world where neighbors knew your name and a “Friend Request” was eye contact and a smile.

Behind The Wheel

Posted · 5 Comments

There’s a time for every season…except when rain falls on snow and makes a sheet of ice on which to drive. There’s no time for that.  Not when a boy wants to learn to drive.

This week Billy got his driver’s license. Yes, I know, he’s 18 (did I mention Billy turned 18?) and should have had his license by now. But long story short, his birth certificate and his social security number took some modification after the adoption and we hit a few snags.  A long wait for a boy whose first snafu with the law was being picked up at four years old for riding his battery operated truck down the middle of the road…or so says the giant stack of paperwork that came with him.

I admit, that first year when he turned fourteen and was able to get his driver’s permit, as you can at that young age here in Alaska, I may have accidentally misplaced the paperwork.  For about a year. Or two.  But my reasons were pure…I just wished to save his life, and the lives of those around him on the road. It made perfect sense to me.

So now the boy, who is suddenly a man, is ready to get behind the wheel. Of my truck and of his life.

But I’m Not Quite Ready.

This is not my first rodeo, as they say. I’ve put let’s see, two, three, four, yes four kids on the road in my rigs over the years.  And every single one of them has led to an insurance claim. Twice I’ve answered my phone to the panicked sound of a child who had just totaled my car. One accident led to three months of a hospital bed in my living room, a stranger whose body will never be the same and a long legged girl with a permanent limp.  There have been head-ons, side swipes, moose kills, trees backed in to, light poles hit and one drive thru coffee shop that, well, one child took literally.

But this is my first boy. The first testosterone filled, speed loving, not-always-real-bright-man-child to sit in the driver’s seat in my house. And boys, as the insurance company will attest to, are dangerous. And if my girls can do that much damage…

At every turn a parent is releasing control, little by little, from birth. But I didn’t acquire Billy until he was nearly nine…so I’ve nine years more to work on this ‘letting go’ thing. I think I deserve a little leeway. A bit more time to hold on.

But he keeps sitting in the driveway, turning the steering wheel back and forth, making truck noises with his mouth…so I think he may be ready to roll.

And with bravery worthy a medal, I hesitantly release the reigns. Well, maybe just one.


5 Responses to "Behind The Wheel"
  1. Bad Christy says:

    My heart goes out to you. My 16 year old has taken to the road and has now decided that a 73 VW beetle isn’t cool enough or fast enough. Slowly let the reigns out, and pray, a lot.

  2. Kristy K. James says:

    Yeah, the whole driving thing is pretty scary. And it’s not my daughter that I worry about the most. Far too many adults drive like maniacs. Adults who should know better, but who seem to think that they’re so important they can ignore all speed limit (and other traffic) signs, who run red lights, who drink – or otherwise drive impaired, and who dart in and out of lanes like they’re trying out for the Indy 500. Yeah, scary business this letting kids drive. :-/

  3. Shirley says:

    Guess you have to let him fly on his wings…and you on a prayer! I raised three boys. The first one had dad around and learned to drive when we lived rural, but after dad was gone and I moved back to the city, I never had the money to insure them, so they had to work and pay for their own car, insurance and gasoline, which they did. I had to find insurance companies that would carry me without making me pay for them. “But they don’t drive my car!! They have their own.” “But if they live in your house, they have access to your keys.” “But my boys don’t get in my purse. I taught them not to.” No matter, if they lived in my house, I had to pay for them to drive MY car, which they never did. I did find a company who wrote me without them. Two of them had accidents. One drove a little later, and he’s 40 and has never had one yet. It used to be that only boys under age 25 paid higher premiums. Now the girls drive just as wild, so they have to pay the same high premiums, too.

  4. jilly-bear says:

    None of my 4 got their license before they were 17 – and my daughter who is 17 only has her permit so far. The trouble is we too live in the city and I just won’t let her drive a stick during rush hour! I keep trying to get her to come to the country with me so she can drive all over the place in my Escape but she’s a city girl… well, city girl, you will just have to wait till you can afford your own car then! 🙂

  5. Lynn Falconer says:

    I have taught three daughters and a lot of other mom’s kids and still feel the responsibility of letting them loose with a lethal weapon! Thank god my 17 yr old does not want to get behind the wheel! We live in the city so there are a heap of targets out there! I can survive taking him places, oh, for about another ten years!

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