And so the process begins anew.
Lauren started her driver’s ed class tonight, in a little room downtown full of old-fashioned bilge-yellow-and-chrome school desks that they probably salvaged from a school district sale. We stood in line to sign in and pay the deposit on the class, and then she sat down while I headed out. I’ll pick her up in a bit and no doubt there will be some kind of story to tell.
This is a different school from the one Tabitha went to, and as near as I can tell the room doesn’t smell of “cigarette smoke and despair” the way she said the other one did, though it does have the same basic 12-Step Program feeling to it.
“My name is David. I’m a driver. It’s been thirteen minutes since I was last behind the wheel of a car.”
Lauren has already told us that pretty much the moment she gets her actual drivers license – the one that will allow her to drive on her own rather than just with a parent or other family member – we will not see her ever again, though I imagine she’ll be home for meals now and then. That’s how I was, anyway.
I took drivers ed in a basement room at the local AAA office – three hours every Saturday morning for a couple of months, with a break in the middle so we could all go across the street and buy snacks from the local minimart because none of us were capable of eating breakfast at whatever unholy hour we had to arise to get there on time. To this day strawberry soda makes me think of that place, in large part because there is only so much strawberry soda one can consume in a lifetime and I greatly exceeded that quantity during my class and have never had any since.
I didn’t go far once I had my license. Mostly to see my friends or my girlfriend, and half the time both at once since we all traveled in a pack for most of high school. We didn’t do much more than hang out – it’s not like we were robbing banks, after all. But that was enough.
My children are growing up. They’re not really even children anymore. That’s how it’s supposed to work, after all, but it is still a strange thing when you’re the one dropping them off at drivers ed and remembering when it was the other way around.