Gratitude * Sunday
Sunday’s heartfelt tradition.
A time to slow down, to reflect, to be grateful.
A list of gratitudes, our gratefulness feeds one another.
Quoted from Taryn Wilson
Joining the Gratitude Sunday Tradition at Wooly Moss Roots.
Rain so hard sounds like
wind rushing through fir branches,
This old mom is increasing her learning curve this solstice holiday season. It’s a rite of passage and it’s called letting go. I am the new parent of a licensed driver and car owner.
The son got his driving license Friday. He’s been driving for 4 years and has had plenty of practice. Most of his friends and many of them much younger have been getting their licenses. I think he was nervous about being tested by a stranger.
My parents taught me how to drive. They did the best they knew but there was a lot of yelling involved. I can’t blame them, I mean, you have to let this smart-assed teenager drive your expensive car knowing the teenager can’t do anything about repairing any damage or even pay their own insurance.
I insisted on the son taking driver’s ed in high school. I wanted him to learn from an unbiased, trained educator, instead of experiencing the yelling parental voice I did. Best investment ever. By the time he was done with driver’s ed, he knew how to handle my “concerned” voice. Yelling is one of my best features; I can yell without raising my voice. I tried hard not to yell, but many times the voice had the same intensity the brake foot did.
I was nauseous and I didn’t have to take the test. I reminded him to eat something, to have a drink of water. I reminded him to brush his teeth. After his shower, I found him lying on his bed in a fetal position. He was past nervous and into a near anxiety attack. I told him to take a deep breath. I reminded him he’s good at taking tests, just do what the tester tells you, the testers know new drivers are nervous, he was going to do fine.
We filled out paperwork at DMV as he got paler. He was bending over and I could tell his stomach hurt; he probably had been too nervous to eat much. I told him if he had to vomit to go into the restroom. The waiting was the worst. His name was finally called and he was given verbal instructions and a pamphlet of instructions to read while waiting for the tester. He did exactly as he was told. I read the pamphlet also and had to remind him to turn off his phone. I told him to take a deep breath; he was going to do fine.
The tester met us at the car. She was cheery and efficient, asked me to exit the car, then had him demonstrate the lights, horn, wipers, and turn signals. And they were off. A honking flock of geese flew overhead as they departed which I took as a good omen.
I tried to find a place to sit where I could see all the entrances as the last time I was at DMV I saw new drivers come in through a side door. I didn’t see him return but after several minutes I heard his name called and I looked in that direction and there he was on his way to get his new picture. He’d already paid his fees and was all smiles.
The actual test had taken less than 15 minutes for all that anxiety. He said she asked if he was nervous, and he said very. He said, “She sounded like you, Mom,” telling him to take a deep breath and instructing him to do what she told him to do but only when he felt safe doing so.
You only need a 75 to pass and he passed with a 95. You could see by his grin he was really pumped he’d done so well.
He’d spent all summer paying out part of his paycheck on an old Jeep. He loves to camp and be in the woods and he wanted to have room for his friends. It won’t matter much if this rig gets dinged up a little as it comes with pre-existing dings. The new ones will blend right in. But it’s his. He paid every penny of it with his own money. He’d finally paid it off and had title in hand so we spent another hour in DMV getting the title transferred.
We stopped at the insurance office to make sure his name was on the policy and he would be covered to the limits required by the state of Oregon. Insurance being the racket it is I still believe it is wise to buy a little more than you need, because when you need it, it really helps. We made sure he also had roadside service, invaluable when your rig is DOA and requires more assistance than you can do. It’s the little things that make a difference in times of trouble.
At the insurance office he ran into the man who had been his Eagle Project mentor. This man is a quiet but passionate person and he took the time to not only thank the son again for his work on that project many years ago, he also reminded the son of caution during this early part of his driving career, saying there were still things he would learn about driving while being by yourself or with people other than your family in the car, and warned him about drinking and driving. Serendipitous? I don’t think so. Stuff happens for a reason. Hearing this advice from his mentor and not just mom and dad? Priceless.
The son has given himself a great and wonderful gift; he’s proven himself through his own rite of passage, he passed the test with flying colors. He paid every penny from his own pocket: the car, the driving license, the title transfer, the insurance. He has improved his mobility and his freedom and is no longer burdened with coordinating a work schedule with a bus schedule. He is gaining new experiences every time he opens the door or the hood of the car or walks into AutoZone to ask them how to fix the latest owie.
A great gift for me as well. Now I can have him run errands without me along. I bet if I offered to pay his gas he’d be willing to use his own car. He might even be able to rescue me if my car dies.
And mom. Mother. Old worra, worra, worra me. I expect to see him again soon when the newness of going wears off or when he runs out of gas. I’ve been treating him like an adult for several years. This is different; now he has wings. I have to banish thoughts of the car rolled over in a ditch hydroplaned in our Oregon rain and remember he flies like an eagle. He’s a good man, cautious, empathetic; I can trust him and let him go and learn to be the wind beneath his wings.
Currently Reading – Lila (2014, fiction) by Marilynne Robinson; Bad Feminist (2013, social science) by Roxane Gay; Mr Strangelove: A Biography of Peter Sellers (2002, biography) by Ed Sikov. Yes, concurrently.
This week I have been grateful for:
- “I didn’t think I’d ever say this, Mom, but I hope there are socks under the tree.” After years of complaints from both the guys about socks and underwear under the tree.
- Warm rain.
- Safe journeys.
- The availability of fresh (imported or otherwise) veggies.
- Learning and growing older.
- The energy of youth.
- Missing same. In me.
- Pre-cooked foods for those days I cannot cook after work.
- Being satisfied with less.
- The older gentleman in the store who moved his grocery cart out of my way saying “Forgive me. I’m acting like I’m the only one in the store.” Moi: “Bless you. Thank you. Merry Christmas.” Big smiles all around.
- Mister Kitty aka George Murphy, sponge cat, letting himself be dried off after an adventure in the rain, as if he likes it. Long hair and wet to the skin. He air dries himself after the towel by horse galloping up and down the hallway half a dozen times.
- Reading, with a cup of hot tea, on long quiet nights.
- Reflecting upon the winter solstice and the longest night of the year.
Hoping you have a lovely week.
Namaste. Peace. Blessings.
Floral ribbon border by Laurel Burch