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.