After two full days of driver's ed classroom instruction, Glory began her in-car instruction yesterday. It's as bittersweet as all these milestones - your young lady taking another step towards independent capability while an empty nest looms larger and large in your mind's eye - but in almost every other way this is nothing but A Good Thing.
We had some spare time this afternoon after we finished watching the closing ceremonies of the Pyeongchang Games, so I asked her if she wanted to go driving with me for a bit. Sunday afternoons represent an ideal window for this activity in many ways, as the roads are not busy and visibility is still good. Besides, there are limited openings in our shared schedule most weekends, so forsaking one would be foolhardy to say the least, so she quickly agreed.
Since this was a largely unplanned trip[, the first obstacle was backing the Corolla out of the garage, which she accomplished with aplomb. She proceeded out of the back alley with a caution that bordered on the excessive, but the ruts and ice made that a good judgment as well.
In order to keep us from simply meandering about, I got her to take us the the liquidators that the rest of the family had visited that afternoon so I could pick up a replacement socket wrench. This took us down 137 avenue to the Industrial park just west of St. Albert Trail.
She did very well, overall, even better than her sister did her first time out. Glory attributes this to having witnessed Fenya's apprehension and nervousness in her early driving, and decided she wanted no part of it. Through a complex means of rationalization, she convinces herself of her own confidence, despite knowing that much of it is a facade. Not knowing precisely how much of this 'fake-it-til-you-make-it' mindset is in play at any given time appears to reinforce the notion that at least a part of her assurance must be, in fact,k genuine. It's a marvelous technique that I am hoping to pick up through osmosis during our future driving sessions.
Parking continues to be a bit of a challenge, but she managed to pull off a couple of lane changes on the way back down 137 avenue, which felt barely impressive. Her hesitancy to cross traffic on the way to the Safeway parking lot apparently used up the patience of the large F-150 behind us, however, as he cut inside her and roared past as she finally began her transit.
She was relatively unflustered while a red haze blurred much of my vision. When the offending driver ended up behind us in the parking lot, I had already filed my intention to to read him a PSA on the merits of vehicular patience and courtesy in a polite society under the dual headings of "Good Ideas/Civic Responsibility". I had my hand on the door handle when the reality of my present situation reasserted itself, and I looked over at my daughter in the driver's seat.
""You would probably be just as happy," I surmised, "if I didn't get out of the car and read this gentleman an abridged version of the Riot Act, huh?"
"If it's all the same to you, yeah; that'd be my preference," she said, keeping her eyes straight ahead and her hands at two and ten.
I nodded and pulled my other hand away from the seat belt release. The rest of our trip was relatively uneventful; she struggles with parking (but was game to try) and has a tendency to let off the gas completely when coming out of a turn. This will undoubtedly improve over time, and she has 4 more lessons to go before her birthday in April.
In the meantime though, it seems there is room for both of us to learn, which suits me just fine.