Saturday, October 13, 2007

Driving

Fall in Cincinnati is a pretty time but the sharp change in weather from blistering heat to classic October chill left me with a bad case of bronchitis. I'm usually a lot more careful and I haven't had an attack this bad since I was a kid.

Fortunately, my daughter, who usually misses several days of school per year due to asthma/ bronchitis issues, knows exactly what to do. So now I'm the one being cosseted with chicken noodle soup and a soda on the side, jello and all my favorite movies from the video store.

She only laughed wryly when Ye Old Matey practically had to sit on me to take my doses of Robitussin. She is amazed that I am capable of being whiny and bratty "just because I'm sick". That I am capable of feeding hated cauliflower to our vacuum cleaner of a dog and incapable of not getting caught.

She doesn't have her temps yet, but she'll be eligible in January so, before I got sick, I'd been teaching her to drive. Just around our neighborhood. She won't be doing the Indy 500 any time soon, but she's going to be a decent driver. Even so, I think teaching your teenage daughter has to be on a list of hellish experiences somewhere between a root canal with no novacaine and actual hell itself.

I let her drive as far as church last week (about 12 miles) and I've found depths and reserves of patience I didn't know I had. Despite the fact that she hasn't mastered left hand turns or at the time, was driving so near the curb, I had to patiently drift her away from looming telephone poles and fire hydrants, we made it in one heart-jumping piece with only one moment of sheer panic. I forgot that this one lane only leads to the expressway and I was NOT ready to take her on the expressway. But we weathered even that moment well and got back on track.

It's odd to have my daughter take care of me after so many years of things being the other way around. Weird to be a passenger after so many years of being her chauffer.

Driving with her takes me back to what I call our "Traveling Days". Back when she was in preschool, before I met Ye Old Matey, we would go for drives, just the two of us, with no destination and for no reason at all. I had a tiny hatchback with no radio so we sang. We sang all the songs from Barney and from church and I taught her every single song my mother and grandmother had ever taught me. One December we realized that the tuner was gone, but the tape player still worked. I picked up a Bing Crosby Christmas tape on sale at a gas station and we wore through Melekalikinaka and she must have been the only three year old to know all the words to Christmas in Kilarney.

I didn't think she remembered those days, she was so young. When we had our moment of panic on the road and finally got back on track, I started humming, without even realizing it:

Oh we ain't got a barrel of money
We may be ragged and funny


And without thinking, she joined in:

But we'll travel along
Singing our song
Side by side.


And she said, "Mama, do you remember..."

And I said, "Yes, baby. I do."

1 comment:

  1. Driving with your children as they're learning is so incredibly difficult!
    It takes the patience of a saint, which I do not have, to begin with.

    My boys are 28 and 25 and are both good drivers and I STILL hate driving with them.

    "phoebes" from the Carpetbaggerreport.

    ReplyDelete

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