Learning to Lose Control

I am sure it was not that long ago I was struggling with the complexities of pregnancy, birth and sudden motherhood. An alien inside me was making me feel unwell and unable to depend on my usual choice of medication.  It was growing independently of me yet deep within my burgeoning belly. Organised and planned as I was, it was this independent entity who chose to come into the world 10 days early with no adherement to my carefully orchestrated birth plan.  Gone were all my plans and routines, my social life curtailed once and for all as this tiny blob of humanity took over my whole world.

Following his arrival there were only a fleetingly short few months where this wonderful creation and I were so entirely wrapped up with each other to the exclusion of the rest of the world. He was so dependent upon me for everything.  A tiny cry amid the cacophony of daily sounds to tell me he was hungry, craved cuddles or needed a nappy change.  I could tell them all, instinctively I could sense his every requirement.    This miracle of mine would stay where I laid him, the soft gurgle of his baby’s giggle would be my answer to the myriad of questions I would ask him, his young awe filled eyes would wander the room lighting up as they caught my reflected gaze.

No 1 Son grew up and has just recently had his 17th birthday.  He is never where I last saw him, the monosyllabic answers lack any mirth and the only gaze in my direction is followed by the exasperated glance heavenward.    Although still  my baby but we now had to find him a suitable birthday present.

A little bit of digging around and mixing together gave us the perfect shoe box of goodies.   We filled it with his provisional driving licence which I had managed to apply for online, a copy of the new insurance documentation allowing him to drive our car, a copy of the Highway Code changed and much updated from my ancient copy, a set of L plates and a gift voucher for 6 hours of driving lessons.  After that he would have to pay for his lessons himself.

The plates were attached instantly, and the eagerness untamed until he was permitted to drive.  Any driver will know it is not just a question of leaping in the car and going.  There are gears to get to grips with, the clutch to contemplate and the speedy reactions from the accelerator.  Decisions to be made as to when to use the brake pedal on the floor or the one beside you; why on earth do you need both.   Why on earth does Sexy Sporty Dad use kangaroo petrol in the car, because the vehicle jumps and stalls when you try to move away? And the road; full of other cars, pedestrians, lorries, bikes, parked cars, roundabouts and traffic lights.  How is anyone supposed to cope with all of those without multi-tasking?

No longer that tiny dependent baby, 17 year olds have an inherent inner belief, they are invincible, and they do know it all.   They learn through the osmosis of their friends.  Only a fellow 17 year old has the ability to interpret the correct grunt, the angle of the slumped shoulder or the glazed gaze.  Only another 17 year old has the right to impart his complete repertoire of experience in a ritual of nods, mumbles and snorts.  What do mine and Sexy Sporty Dad’s nearly 60 years experience of driving count; after all we learnt to drive before the wheel was even invented.

So my incredibly brave husband ventured out amid furious protests and drove the car to a thankfully deserted industrial estate where he was persuaded to vacate the driving seat.  No 1 Son took control of the car and spent a few hours kangarooing round the local roads.

The following night was my turn to be the willing passenger allowing him to drive me around town.  I still unable to quite relinquish my control totally retraced the route to the once again deserted industrial estate and left the safe security of the driving seat.   Sliding myself sluggishly into the passenger side, I pulled the seatbelt slowly across my trembling torso, holding my breath long enough to allow my shaky hands to plug it in.   We, and I use the word deliberately,  were ready and raring to go!

Into first gear we pulled away gently without jumping or stalling, the car speeded up fractionally and was moved to second gear.   My breath held; I could hear my heart pounding as I realised we were coming to a junction. My brain screamed slow down as I glanced at the speedometer, there must be a mistake we were nearly doing 12 miles an hour – reminder to oneself – get it checked out.   Even the feeling of slowing was not strong enough for my body not to brace its self and my right leg to force the imaginary brake pedal nearly through the floor.   We came to a stop.

We checked both ways for any other soul who might be drifting along these dark desultory drives before pulling out of the junction smooth and slickly.   Ignoring my consider learning to lose controlsqueaky advice to do a few more turns of the empty roads No 1 Son took me on a tour of the town.   He dipped his lights at the appropriate times not blinding the oncoming drivers.  He waited patiently as the red traffic light gave me a moment’s breathing space.  He allowed the other driver who had now idea which way he was coming off the roundabout to make his choice before following him round to our exit.   We made it home to the waiting arms of the rest of the family and the place I am in most control.

In the month he has been learning to drive I have been coerced into allowing him to drive me regularly interspersed with the lessons from the expert.  I have even permitted him to transport the whole family together; although Sexy Sporty Dad being so much calmer and relaxed is the passenger while I protect the unconcerned two in the back.  The roads round the Peak District during our Christmas holiday, so narrow with stone walls either side or deep ravines over the edge of the ditches provided a challenge for me in letting go, while the parking in the supermarket car park will forever be too much for my control to relinquish.  I don’t even like doing that!  In fact not even Sexy Sporty Dad parks safely enough for me.

So if you happen to be out and about and encounter the big red L emblazoned on the car in front or behind, spare a thought for the passenger;  it just could be me surrendering my authority.



Check out my cooking blog at Teatime Treats with Tiggy










This entry was posted in Family and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *