I am already shaking. The clock strikes 10 and I spot his car.
I quietly leave. I don’t want the chorus from my boys .
I introduce myself and tell him I am nervous. (I am very nervous).
Years. Years I have been putting this off.
Years I’ve been telling myself it’s something I don’t actually really need to do, as living in a city, makes it easy to get around.
Yes, I have spent years dodging this one life skill most people have mastered by their early 20s .
I am almost 36.
I can no longer hide from it.
My eldest son cannot sit on a public bus, train or plane ; not that I am planning on learning how to control any of those vehicles. No ,I just want to be able to control our Honda Stepwagon; safety and without nerves…eventually.
I have little choice but to finally learn how to drive.
I sit beside the instructor who is warm , friendly and very calm.
He begins the lesson.
He talks to me as if he has a bar stool under his arse and we are sharing our first pint together.
I like him.
He goes through the very basics of how to get the Stepwagon to move and stop.
He reminds me that learning to drive such a big car is definitely a brave thing to do.
I don’t want to tell him that we can’t afford a second car and that I am so, so very tired of asking my husband to bring me places. And that feeling of being judged when I state “I don’t drive” . I want to be able to just go when I need to but more importantly when I want to.
I smile. And nod.
Being an automatic car, he tells me, does make it a whole lot easier.
Not right now, not right now from my current perspective but I do see his point; as I have been told by many people that it really is the ‘easiest’ way to learn.
Automatic is really my only choice, well it wasn’t until we discovered that the cars of our future will all be as big as this Stepwagon due to our son now having a motorised wheelchair ( learning to drive that yoke, is another post altogether)
Most cars that can carry a wheelchair are automatic, is this easiest? I don’t know yet.
My second lesson is tomorrow.
I sweat far more than is socially acceptable during my first lesson.
I locked the windows as the instructor gasped for air.
I quickly learned how to unlock the windows while driving , embarrassment is a huge huge motivator for learning where certain things are in a car.
I apologise for my sweatiness, he laughs and tells me a few stories of other clients, which may or may not be true but they do make me feel less embarrassed.
It begins to rain, much to his joy, not mine.
Rain makes me panic, which is ironic since we live in Ireland.
Another thing for me to ‘get over’.
I drive while he chats away, I am convinced this man has no fear. I hit the kerb, he laughs, and gently guides the wheel.
We are in our car so this dude has no breaks on his side; which only occurs to me when I am out on the main road and I hit accelerate instead of break.
He calmly tells me to remember the break.
We are fine.
He gets me to park and reverse . I say something smart arsed to him and he laughs.
I am pretty sure none of my friends had to do all this on their first lesson. He informs me that they are them and I am me.
I no longer care that there’s a pool of sweat forming around me as I don’t hit the nice red ‘16 car parked behind me.
We both laugh while we wonder if the owner was watching out the window praying to God that I reverse and get the heck out of there.
I drive us back home and I breath.
The rest of my week I make the trip to and from the local shops at the end of the road while my husband tries his best not to lose the will to live.
I am overly slow.
I am still nervous.
The toddler has come each time for the spin.
His encouragement is absolutely out of this world.
“Mammy will we get to the shops today, do you think?”
“Mammy my seat belt nearly choked me” (despite him being in his car seat !)
“Mammy that’s a big bump and it hurts”
“Mammy maybe we should just let daddy sit there”
Yes, tomorrow I have lesson two.
Yes I will be nervous.
I hope I will be less sweaty.
But damn it, I can drive a Honda stepwagon, even if I can’t use a round-about or indicator correctly, park, reverse without having a meltdown, speed up and gently slow down, have no idea how the wipers work but I can drive that huge metal box sitting outside my home and it feels good.
I may be a little late to this driving lark but better late than never.
Isn’t that what they say?!
This was originally published on FamilyFriendlyHQ