Some mornings I let Amelia drive to school. She has had her permit since July. Many thoughts and images run through my brain. Thank God by 7:10am I have already been to the gym , walked Izzy and most likely swilled a cup ‘o Joe. A few observations:
- I hold my breath as she backs out the car from the very garage space that just a few months ago I myself backed out of and ripped Fredrick’s side mirror off.
- I see the mailbox perilously close to my window as she makes the right hand turn towards the high school.
- I tap that invisible brake pad at the stop sign and indiscreetly make the sign of the cross. (St. Christopher is already on the visor.)
- I laugh as we pull up to the school and run that fire drill when she hops out and I run around and hop in.
- and I am sad knowing that this too will end and I will miss her when she is away at college.
But, in the meantime, I see the familiar expression on the faces of neighbors and friends sitting in that passenger seat while their teen drives. They all look shell-shocked. These are parents that I have known from basketball, LAX, crew and homeroom mother detail. Ford, Dodge, Mercedes, Audi…it matters not. What does matter is the eye contact as we pass each other. Is it a cry for help? Is it a question of ‘how did we get here?’ I’m not sure.
I think about how would it be if I grew up and raised my family in Italy. Would I jump on the back of a Vespa while Amelia ripped us through the back roads and hills of Tuscany on her way to school? Would it be a slick tandem bicycle custom made for moms with a teen in tow? Ooo, maybe a Fiat or Ferrari? Ahhh the possibilities.
So when Monday morning comes and we (parents) take our place in the passenger seat, let’s smile a bit more as we pass each other, try not to overreact to the rear wheel hitting the curb on the turn and relax with the too fast start or whiplash-type stop. We can try it…or we can put them on the bus!