I agreed to take him to get pizza after his lesson to celebrate. Even though he had asked me earlier if I wanted to go for a drive after his lesson, I don't think I anticipated that he would want to be the one to do the driving. (Of course, he would want to drive! What was I thinking?) When I cautioned him about cars in parking lots, he quickly changed his mind. He was ready to drive. Parking, on the other hand, was an entirely different matter.
After he got his pizza, though, I drove to an empty part of the parking lot where I stopped the car and we switched seats. I will admit that I was pleased that I got to be the first one (other than his driving instructor, of course) to drive with him. I was even more pleased when I guided us home without a single scream. I'm sure Jared was, too.
This was only the beginning. Suddenly, anywhere his dad and I wanted to go, Jared wanted to go, too, as long as it gave him the opportunity to sit in the driver's seat. After driving out to the local community college to look at the used cars for sale at the weekend Auto Fair, Jared got his chance. In an empty parking lot, he showed off his new-found driving skills to his dad and practiced parking. Then, it was out onto the city streets to take us home.
I won't deny I was a little nervous. A short trip to the pizza place a few blocks from home was one thing. A trip across town in increasingly heavy traffic was another. He did well, though, and I think I did, too. My husband had opted to sit in the back seat, so it was up to me to talk Jared through the drive home. I managed to sound calm for the most part even if my body was stiff with tension.
Later in the day, he drove us to the grocery store and back. His younger brother, though full of trepidation, joined us. Several times during the short drive to the store, Jared asked his brother how he was enjoying the ride. Glancing over at my son in the driver's seat, I could see the broad smile that beamed with pride.
We arrived safely, and Jared expertly parked the car. As the four of us wandered through the grocery store, there was a happy energy emanating from us all. The excitement my son felt about finally learning to drive was clearly contagious.
Although I know the excitement and newness of this time in his life rightfully belong to him, I am happy that I get to go along for the ride.