Why? Because my daughter has her Lerner’s Permit and that means I need to sit beside a Rookie Driver for at least 60 hours whilst she attempts to maneuver through Baltimore-Washington area (aggressive!) traffic and remain alive. Sometimes we take narrow, windy streets; parked-car-laden neighborhood roads; traffic-filled town boulevards … And worst of all … I-95. Yikes!!! We have yet to attempt the latter. The US Routes have been hard enough …
… On me. She’s doing fine!
My “little girl” is actually a good driver. I don’t worry so much about her negotiating through streets and highways nearly as much as I worry about the crazy, selfish, speed-demons who inhabit the space with her … and her ability to react quickly to their recklessness.
When I first wrote the book, and contemplated what it would be like to be the mother of a fifteen-year-old girl, my daughter had only reached her twelfth birthday. Though I knew teaching her how to drive, and releasing her to the highways, loomed in my future, I guess subconsciously, I was in some sort of denial. There is a “driving” scene in the book, but it took place in an isolated parking lot, a space even I do not fear traversing with my fledgling roadster.
At that time, Sopie’s character’s issues revolved around other concerns. Having taken a model of my then twelve year old daughter as a starting point, I conceptualized what she’d be like a few years down the road. Though she is not the older sister of a brother with special needs--being younger than hers by three and a half years--she shares many of the caretaker traits of her fictional counterpart. I have, however, been lucky in that she’s been more prepared to deal with burgeoning womanhood than I was at her age. Maybe it’s because she got the “pizza analogy” speech before Sophie did in the novel (which is what inspired the scene in Flee from Evil surrounding Sophie’s choice of clothing for a youth group meeting). Sophie’s challenges in that arena really came from my own experience as a teen. My daughter is way smarter than I am.
Thank you, Jesus!
As I contemplate the next part of Sophie’s story (Book 2 of Water’s Edge--featuring Isabella and a newly introduced male counterpart), I realized she will be getting her Lerner’s Permit as well. What will this do to a new father figure (Vince Steegle) already learning how to parent a special need’s child? I’m sure my own experience these next few months will inform much of those scenes. I can’t wait--Ugh! Be prepared for harrowing car rides and a father-figure needing to kneel before the throne of Grace for all the unChristian thoughts that sift through his mind while in the passenger seat, Rookie Driver negotiating the highway beside him.
All of this has me thinking … Driving would be so much easier if everyone just followed the rules. I wouldn’t worry about my daughter on the road if I could trust all the others out there with her. Life is like that. God gave us a plan to negotiate this world, and when we disobey that plan, things get confused, and sometimes downright dangerous.
So, I’m on a mission (from God?). It’s called #MotherOfARookieDriver. I plan to post on social media my thoughts on safe driving and the trauma of releasing my daughter into the wild. Feel free to join me, whether you too are a #MotherOfARookieDriver, a former #MotherOfARookieDriver, a future #MotherOfARookieDriver, or just a driver who likes to feel safe. And if you’re a dad--you can join us too. I’d love to have you with me.
FEEL FREE TO USE THE FOLLOWING TWEETS/POSTS OR MAKE UP YOUR OWN
And add any you want to share in the comments below …
Just cuz U R a gr8 driver doesn’t mean the person you cut in front of is. #Avoidthecrash #DangerousDriving #MotherOfARookieDriver
THINK: Like it or not, Ur sharing the road with drunks, stressed drivers, distracted parents of tots #DriveCarefully #MotherOfARookieDriver
THINK: Ur sharing the road with inattentive teens, those who sneeze (& close eyes) & people on meds. #DriveCarefully #MotherOfARookieDriver
Baby Boomers-PLUS are aging (slowing reactions) and on the road with you. #DriveGently #MotherOfARookieDriver #DaughterOfAn80yoDriver
(PS. My mother isn’t actually 80--shhhh--but she’d kill me if I mentioned her REAL age)
The bumper sticker on back of the car means you’re supposed to be MORE CAREFUL driving around that person, not less #MotherOfARookieDriver
You had to learn once too. Be nice on the road #MotherOfARookieDriver
SAVE THE PARENT in the passenger seat. Be careful with the Rookie Driver. #MotherOfARookieDriver
SHARE THE ROAD means it’s not yours, it’s not mine. We both need to take turns. #MotherOfARookieDriver