Learning to Drive

dashboard, learning to drive, driving lessonsI already know! he defiantly says

Filling me with “mother-of-teenager” dread

After one hour of instructed driver’s ed

My boy’s natural coordination goes to his head.

 

My memories aren’t fond of when I learned to drive

I’ll never forget how my dad broke into hives

When I pumped the accelerator instead of the brake

Dad lost his cool, and for hours I cried.

 

Day after son gets his permit I rise from bed

Give him the keys and make sure he is fed

Sit in the passenger seat, my eyes straight ahead

“See? This is easy,” he actually says.

 

But, son sees a friend – cockily high fives

Radio loud, hips dancing a jive

Steering wheel rocks toward the big ditch I spy

Son squeals, too late; I close my eyes.

 

Immensely relieved we’re both still alive.

 

85 thoughts on “Learning to Drive

  1. Brought back memories of teaching my eldest…can ‘see’ clearly the high rise pavement hit so hard the wheel broke…first and last time in her presence I swore…I paid for lessons thereafter!

  2. My poor dad, I still remember him trying to teach me to drive and I’m sure I was responsible for his early hair loss! I paid for my daughter to have lessons but we still had some interesting experiences as she practised with me beside her. Great poem. Glad you were both OK.

  3. Yikes! Thankfully my experiences were not like this. The first night our younger daughter had the car after she got her license, a deer jump out in the road in front of her. She stopped in time, and no one was behind her, so everything was fine–and I didn’t hear about it until later that night.

  4. He had the radio on?

    My dad didn’t let me talk or chew gum or listen to the radio or wave to friends or do anything but drive when he was teaching me. “No distractions” until after I had my license.

    At the time, he seemed too paranoid.
    Now I’m not so sure he didn’t have the right idea.

    Especially with the teeny tiny attention spans that most people seem to have these days.

  5. Oh yikes!! I did not like that stage of my children learning to drive at all. Really one should be given some great award for enduring it all. Hope you are both all right and that he learned a lesson from it all.

  6. In Germany you don’t get driving permits, you go to driving school which I barely passed. My dad was sweet as always when I came home with the first dent on his car.

    • You are making me blush. Funny how angst (whether from teen driving lessons or counting new gray hairs) can lead to fast-flash poetry. This one rushed from my pen in about 10 minutes! (But, I admit, lots of drafts after…) xo

  7. That was very entertaining – to read if not to live through. I didn’t take my test till I was in my late forties and it was when we lived in Spain and I was nowhere near fluent in Spanish. I had some hilarious moments because neither my instructor nor my examiner had a word of English.

  8. This poem was clever and great payback for the ditch episode. My youngest daughter when able to finally (2nd time) pass her license test, I allowed her to take two friends about 3 miles down the road for ice cream. She had a green light and was turning left. She looked both ways and a car came out of a beer drive-through and hit her. I felt bad and when my husband, at the time was mad, I offered to take girls for ice cream. Daughter was crying and asked if we could just go home.
    Pam, I refused to get a lawyer. It took a large poster and my hand-drawn diagram to display daughter was actually not guilty. She was on the road and he was clearly not. He had to pay for damages and judge got ticket given to daughter revoked. Wish the police officer had actually been there as I gave a triumphant smile. 🙂

  9. I just learned that if you wait until you’re 18 years old you don’t have to take a driver’s ed course. (At least in the state of New Hampshire.) I don’t know how any adult manages to not suffer sever anxiety attacks having to teach kids to drive. Your poem is a perfect reflection of that!

    • “Severe anxiety attack” is a good description. On the other hand, the parent needs to seem calm, cool and collected. HA! I’m amazed that NH doesn’t require drivers after 18 to take any driver’s ed course. Gives a whole new meaning to the state’s motto: ‘Live free or die.’ :-0

  10. Enjoyed the poem except the ditch part. I’ve read all the comments and it seems that most commenters have their share of driving tales.

    My son and my daughter had, I think, a hand or foot up. Our property is an acre and they learned to drive a battery powered Go-Kart that each of them drove daily when they were 8-10 years old. Then my son had a dirt bike and he drove on a track in the country. My parents farm was the best of all. My dad let them drive a tractor(with him standing behind on the tractor drawbar). Then he let each of them drive an old car in an open field. They learned all the basics and had a good grasp for steering, braking, turning, etc. When they each turned 16 they took the driver’s test and easily passed. That was in the 80’s and teens could get what was called “hard luck” driver’s license or what ever, if they needed to drive to get to a job after school.

    On the other hand getting careless when driving a machine/vehicle that does not allow for errors can get you killed or badly injured. After my son was critically injured when he over turned with the ATV, that vehicle had a different meaning. When he was able to talk he said, “but I’ve been driving an ATV since I was 12 years old. But it really doesn’t matter about how well you can handle any motorized vehicle. What matters is to not take anything for granted and to drive responsibility. Bottom line is that one lapse in judgement can result in disaster

    I’m sorry this comment is so long. For some reason I have time to be “wordy.”
    PS: My son is doing very well except for depression and needing speech therapy. Some days he speaks very well and other days he has a problem pronouncing some words.

    • Thank you Hilary. I think that’s what’s so great about poetry. We can bring forth all of our angst/joy/anxiety/love/fear from an experience using a few words on some lines.
      Now, I haven’t been brave enough to show this poem to my son yet. I think I may wait for 13 years or so until it’s HIS turn with HIS boys.

  11. Yikes! My driving experience was always ok. I did get into an accident less than 6 months after I got my license but no one was hurt. I tried to negotiate a curve going to fast and ended up in a ditch also. I taught my daughter to drive. She did pretty well too and I didn’t have any anxiety attacks! LOL!

  12. We survived it with four kids. One is now 26 and the other three are 19. They’ve each had little “incidents” but nothing major, thank heavens. Drivers ed was interesting to say the least. I wish you well through this educational period where your experience and expertise will be under-appreciated. Oh, by the way, one of our sons has hit two deer and had a speeding ticket after not slowing down quickly enough after going around a drunk driver. All innocent mistakes. The deer made out better than his vehicle. He’s slower now and watches for deer.

    • And I bet your son taught that deer to watch out for him! 🙂 I’ve been enjoying getting to know you and your family through your blog posts, from shepherding dogs to a busy empty nest. FUN.

      • Thanks so much. I’m enjoying getting to know you, too. You won’t believe this but one of the triplets, our daughter called from college in Western NC yesterday to say she had a wreck. She started crying harder when she said, “I hit a cop.” After I assured her as long as she’s safe, and everybody else is, that’s the important thing. I also said, “How can I fuss at you when I hit a dump truck myself. It happens.”

        • Oh noooooooooo. Well, at least she didn’t have to CALL a copy to report the accident. :-0 But I agree – if our kids aren’t hurt, we let out a whoosh and nothing else really matters.

  13. I’m so glad I have a few years to wait until we have to face this horror. That said, our eldest is 12 so it’s not a long way off. I think he can get his learner’s at 16. The kids didn’t need to Google that, even though I’d conveniently forgotten!

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