Last week, I received word that my Nana was being moved into the hospice unit of the nursing home she was in. I wasn't worried, but I was sad that the end was approaching and when you're anticipating something like that, well, it's easy to lose focus.
I was at the elementary school picking up the kids when Nolan appeared out of nowhere. He'd forgotten his keys, and knew where to find me.
He very graciously occupied his sister on the swings while I finished up some stuff in the office. As we walked to our car, my thoughts were on calling my Mom for news, when I had a little brainstorm.
I decided I needed a normal, regular thing to keep my mind at bay for a few more minutes.
I cocked my head and looked at my tall, gangly boy and smiled. "Mijo," I began, not believing the next words that were going to come out of my mouth, "Do you want to drive us home?" (He'll be fifteen in about 12 days. The permit window is quickly approaching. He's gotta start sometime....)
"Really? You're not kidding??" he asked, incredulous. "Not kidding," I said, taking a deep breath as I handed him the keys. "Get in."
I made sure Audrey was buckled in, and I gave him some instruction on where the gas and brake pedals were, as well as how to get it into drive. "Let your foot off the brake, and it will roll forward. Get a feel for it and then you can put your foot gently on the gas," I said.
He listened. And concentrated.
I held my breath but was calm when I addressed him. "You're going to have to slow down up here to turn," I said, then I reached over and helped him make the turn. "Look in front of you, not at the cars parked in the street. Your hands will follow your eyes, and we will hit whatever you're looking at," I added.
Audrey started giggling like mad in her seat.
"Um, you need to step on the gas." Pa-whump! The van jumped a few feet forward, and I became reacquainted with the head rest. "Easy, dude. A little lighter with that foot..." "Sorry, Mom." "What are you doing, trying to kill us, Noey?" asked our little backseat driver.
We approached an intersection, and as people in our neighborhood don't always remember to slow down, I made him slow as we got closer. A car approached us, and we had a little standoff. You go. No, you go. No, really, you go. Finally, I semi got out of the van, standing up in the doorway, shouting over the top of it, "He's learning. Go ahead and go."
The other driver smiled widely, light bulb going off in his head, and I could almost see him remembering his first drive.
We made it up the street in fits and starts, and finally, we were at our house. "You're Dad's not home, so we have the whole driveway. I'm gonna let you pull in and park it." I helped him with the turn again, but as we hit the incline of the curb, we paused a little, so he goosed it enough to make it...but kept going.
"Brake, son. Brake. Brake NOW!"
He'd mistakenly hit the gas. Luckily, he recovered in time such that my garage door is remains intact.
Surprisingly enough, so do my nerves.