On The Road Again

Michelle Driving

It’s happening again.  I’m teaching a kid to drive.  This is the last one.  Praise the lord!  This is just not my strength.

When I dropped her off for her first day of driving with the school instructor, I literally stopped, closed my eyes and prayed for that man.  He was a young father, the infant seat in his automobile clued me in.  It made me sad to think of his demise at the hands of my child.  I don’t know how much you get paid to teach someone to drive – I do know it is not enough.

After his instruction, the baton was passed to me.

If Michelle could just remember the difference between the gas pedal and the brake this experience would be so much more pleasant.

“Dad, doesn’t it makes sense that the gas pedal would be the bigger of the two?”

“Actually, I would prefer you stop more than you go.”

She asked to drive the family to my parents’ house in Fayetteville for Thanksgiving – down Interstate 95.  It was the week after she completed Drive’s Ed.  I said, “Absolutely not.”  She said, “But dad, I have three days experience.”

I’m not sure I’ll be comfortable with Michelle and I-95 after three years of experience.

I did let her drive to church the Sunday after the holiday.  Her sisters and I buckled in as she backed out of the driveway.  As we rolled toward the street, I gently said, “Brake.”  She accidentally pressed the gas pedal.  A chorus of shouts came at her from every direction.  I did not get angry at my older kids for the curse words that fell from their mouths.  I understood

“It isn’t helpful for all of you to yell at me!”

I explained that when someone was in grave danger, the response was automated, that we couldn’t help ourselves.

Maybe Acura should take her suggestion and make the gas pedal larger.  Or better yet, put the brake on the passenger side of the vehicle.  That would be helpful.

On her way home from the DMV, where she aced the written exam, we pretended to be in England – driving down Lake Boone Trail on the left side of the street.  To her credit, there were cars parked along the curb on the right side.  She was trying to give them a wide berth.  She did.  She gave them a VERY wide berth.  So wide.

She’s actually not all that bad.  I have a tendency to accentuate the rough spots.  And compared to her sisters, she’s not horribly behind.  Once DJ took a curb so tight after a major rain storm that she doused a jogger running by.  I sank into my seat from embarrassment.  He flipped her the bird.  She also got in a three car pileup on her second day of Driver’s Ed.  At least Michelle got through basic training without a moving violation!

Stephanie struggled with the whole gas/brake pedal conundrum as well majorly accelerating instead of braking while trying to park at the Harris Teeter one day.  I think they get that from my mother.  She’s not very good behind the wheel and can hardly see over the seat.  I haven’t ridden with her since I got my license.  I don’t think my dad has ever ridden with her behind the wheel.  He’s a very smart man.

I am so thankful I don’t have four children.  I simply don’t think I could do this again.  I’m anxious by nature – this parental responsibility is NOT a good fit for me.

Leave a comment


  1. You get through these days with solid memories. For instance, my younger child set the land speed record for driving in reverse. He did it in our alley and got it out of his system – made me holler. He does reverse pretty well now – he can back a trailer into any old place.

  2. Mom

     /  December 6, 2017

    I’ll have you know that after your Dad’s heart surgery I drove him around town for 6 weeks, sitting in the back seat with sunglasses on where he couldn’t see much that was going on around him. I’d suggest that for you. If I only had a sense of direction I’d be fine.

  3. Carolanne Plummer

     /  December 6, 2017

    I seem to remember us giving good ol’ “Scooby-Doo” a run for his money!! Remember when we were doing interstate driving and we went up I-95 while he napped in the car?
    Drivers Ed at it’s finest!
    I love reading your stories! I hope you have a very Merry Christmas and wish you all the best for the New Year!

    • Danny Tanner

       /  December 18, 2017

      You drove so close to the telephone pole on Robeson Road that I jumped to the middle of the back seat!

      • Carolanne Plummer

         /  December 18, 2017

        I never broke that habit! Still driving close to the curb!

  4. I hear you, going through this with my first though. She refuses to listen to me when I insist we wear helmets and shouts at me to stop shouting at her when she’s about to drive off a cliff, I kid you not. I have a bottle of holy water in the car which I will randomly sprinkle on her. Two more after this. I seriously wonder if I will survive.


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