Driving Mister Dowdy
My oldest son has his driver’s license. When I think about my behavior once I was granted that responsibility, it scares the hell out of me. But, so far, this young man has resisted his sister’s suggestions to “punch it”, and seems to treat his fellow drivers with a respect that is well beyond his seventeen years. Yesterday, the three of us traveled together for a visit with my parents. For the return leg, my son offered to drive, my daughter quickly called “shotgun” and I got in the back seat with the dog.
It was odd.
For seventeen years my perspective has almost always been through the windshield. If I wasn’t driving the family, then I was the co-pilot. After all, what sensible adult would willingly choose to be in the back of a vehicle full of young children? Who would want to be among the noise and crying and dirty diapers, the Barney videos and slapping and incessant cries for “momma”?
My job had always been to limit the torture. I was supposed to get us to our destination as quickly as possible so we could release the squirming, screaming prisoners from their bonds.
Of course, I don’t have young children anymore. We haven’t done the car seat thing in ages. And it is hard to believe my twins will be teenagers in six months.
I found my wind wandering as I was chauffeured down the interstate. I saw things that I had not seen in years. Or perhaps I merely noticed things that been outside my periphery for quite some time. I almost felt relaxed.
I would occasionally check our progress through the front glass, but it was totally unnecessary. I was in good hands. We were in good hands. My two oldest children were chatting among themselves. And the dog was cuddled up beside me, no doubt dreaming of cats and endless grassy fields where he could run and run and run. Come to think of it, I was feeling a little drowsy myself. We had been relegated to the back seat, and it wasn’t that bad. I guess our hearts were at peace, and our minds were at rest as we traveled down life’s road, seeing new sights, or sometimes simply seeing the same things from a different point of view.