My daughter says it would be easier to learn how to drive if I didn’t use the “stressful voice.” You know the one that says, “Slow down. . . “ that starts first slowly and then once again with full volume as a directive, “SLOW DOWN!” Or perhaps it is not just the voice, but the grasping at the dashboard or the stabilizing handle on the passenger door, usually to brace myself just in case of a collision.
Perhaps it is the tone of voice I use when I try to quickly say, “You’re too close to the curb!” or “Don’t hit that parked car!” I can’t seem to help it because I keep seeing my life flash before my eyes or a visit to The Collision Car Specialists. Or maybe it is when I instruct her to get over a lane and she turns the wheel before looking in the mirror and I let a high pitch “Look first!” blurt out as I see a near miss. She pleads with me that she wants to pull over and for me to take the wheel. I refuse and tell her to take a right and we get on the same street and try the merging into traffic once again. I’m relentless and I refuse to let her cave into her fear. I refuse to cave into my fear.
“Breathe, Mom. You need to settle down.” She is right, I need to not only breathe but to have faith that someday I will be comfortable thinking that she can drive alone without an instructor or as my chauffeur when I'm old and gray. But I know it is possible, because as she’s driving I see the teenager I once was, and I recognize my mother who I thought was being overly dramatic when it came to driver’s training as I hear that stressful voice.
Tonight when we finally arrive home safe and sound (after several stressful attempts to park the car in the driveway) we both were content to put on our pajamas, wrap ourselves in a blanket and try to forget the stressful voice. It helps to be out of the car and out of harm’s way. And it helps to be able to shut my eyes and know we won’t be hit by oncoming traffic.
© Kelly Tweeddale 2012