I have spent hours waiting in parking lots. I have spent days of my life being a taxi driver, shuttling Flash here and there and back again. Even on my own birthday, I was little more than a source of transportation to get him where he needed or wanted to be, and then, of course, home again when it was all over.
I have sat in the passenger seat teaching, suggesting, nudging, cringing as he learned and practiced the art of driving. I have sacrificed my plans, my desire to just get there so that he might learn and gain more exoeience each time we went out. I have spent countless hours coaching him in and out of parking spaces, backing into the garage and demonstrating safe techniques in all kinds of weather.
I was there, at the Secretary of State's office, waiting with an anxious boy when he got his driving permit. I was there, each and every day, waiting in the parking lot a good distance from home while he took the necessary classes. I was there beside him as he hit the telephone pole, as he pulled out too quickly, as he cut someone off or as he took a turn too fast.
I was also there when he drove me without a word of correction. I was there when he started feeling comfortable enough to drive with one hand on the wheel. I was there, playing with the radio, demonstrating distractions to a boy who was no longer flustered, no longer easily distracted. I was there when he drove home from school at night, in the rain and the door handle went unclenched. I was there when he drove on the highway, passing cars and trucks and my heart didn't race. I was there when he calmly practiced parking over and over until he felt successful.
And I was there, in the backseat as required, when he took his road test. I was there, absolutley silent as he performed every maneuver asked of him. I was there, biting my lip, holding my breath, feeling nervous for a biy who didn't show it himself. And I was there when the instructor handed him his certificate with compliments.
So forgive me, if today, I linger in bed with a book. Forgive me if my to-do list sits untouched for a while longer. Understand that for just today, the first day of my retirement from chauffeur services, if I don't relax just a little, self-indulge just a bit, while he drives himself too and from band camp. Oh sure, I still utter more advice upon his departure- about the fog, about his headlights, about his return-than he deems necessary, and I still wait with phone in hand for him to text to say he has arrived safely,but the rest of my day will be spent ignoring the clock. No where to be, no reason to stop in the middle of anything to go pick him up or take him back. My day is, for once, my own.
Bittersweet. Bittersweet indeed.