Saturday, August 14, 2010

Daughter Driving Home!

Well, all good things must come to an end and so it was with our brief, but great and fulfilling, vacation! We spent the days together, we spent the nights together, we cooked on a grill together, we shopped together, we saw a movie together, and, well, we pretty much spent all of our waking ours together and ...... nobody got hurt!!

During the long ago vacation days, I did most of the driving while my wife picked up the slack. In fact, over the years, a system had developed wherein I would drive for most of the sunlight hours and she would take over the wheel during the dark hours of the night. This system had worked well for years, as we would spell each other at the wheel to ensure some level of rest for each of us. We had also worked it out so that the driver would be responsible for the kids in the back - food, water, rest areas, etc.

However, on this trip, a new phenomenon occurred .... a 3rd driver entered the equation - my daughter wanted us to become a driving rotation of 3! Well, as she was 22-years-old now and as she is a responsible driver, I quickly said ........ NO!! My quick response was partly because I did not want to put that kind of stress on her and, admittedly, I did not want her growing up that fast (I know, I know, she is already grown up - that is the hardest part of all!).

So, yes, on this particular trip, on the way to and from the vacation, a pleasant (although it was gut-wrenching, as well) scenario unfolded, as our long-standing 2-person driving rotation became a 3-person group. Our 19-year-old wanted to jump into the fray as well, but we managed to preserve his youth a little longer!

I drove the first four hours of the trip, with my daughter taking over at that point. I jumped in the back seat expecting to be somewhat white-knuckled, but I found that I was instantly drowsy and I fell asleep. At some point early in her shift, my daughter woke me up to tell me that the tires appeared to be low on air. I told her to find a gas station and, knowing that I would soon be falling right back to sleep, I told her to wake me up when we got to the station.

At some point, I woke up on my own, looked at the clock, and noticed that 2 hours had passed since she first woke me up about the tires. Fearing that we might be getting a flat, I asked her why she had not yet found a gas station. With the maturity of a seasoned driver, she informed me that she had found a gas station long ago and that she had filled the tires on her own!

Why, that little whippersnapper! She was trying to show ol' dad that she was now a grown-up and she fully succeeded in her mission. Yes, our baby girl, diapers and car seat long ago tossed aside, was now in the adult world - driving the whole family in the middle of the night and filling tires on her own instead of waking mom or dad!

During the remainder of the trip to and from vacation, my daughter continued to take her share of driving turns. In fact, there were times that I had to convince her to give up the wheel, so that she would not get overly tired. Yes, the girl who once struggled with a few objects on her way to the beach (see February 6, 2010), was now taking charge and trying to do more than her share!

Where we once went on a vacation with a little girl, we were now vacationing with a young lady! Wow, what mixed emotions that stirred up - proud, happy, queasy, sad, wistful, and, well, you get the idea. Our little girl was all grown up and there was no turning back!

Yes, this might have been our final vacation together as a fivesome and it might be just as well, as we have found that it is tough and exhilarating at the same time to watch your kids grow up right before your eyes and take part in activities that are reserved for adults, such as driving in the middle of the night and filling tires with air!

So, how about you? Any big turning points in which your formerly young offspring convinced you that they were grown-up?

Paul W. Reeves

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