“Dad, can you move the car so I can vacuum it?” she called out to me through the back door. “The cord won’t reach.”
“Why don’t you move it?” I replied in all sincerity.
“Because I am only thirteen and I don’t know how to drive,” she answered.
I went to the singing bowl on the dresser, picked out the key to the car, and handed it to her with a smile. “Well, I guess you are going to work out how to!”
It wasn’t a complicated lesson, not at all. We have enough room on the property to back and turn, to go forwards, to navigate the roundabout and even tap the accelerator a little.
“What do I do?” she asked once we were seated.
“What do you think you should do?” I replied.
It didn’t surprise me, not at all, that she was tentative as she worked out how to start the vehicle, put it in gear, touch the brake, press on the accelerator. It didn’t surprise me that she thought for a few seconds to consider which way to turn the steering wheel while reversing, or that she used the mirrors for guidance. It didn’t surprise me that she pushed on the brake too hard. This is learning.
“Where do you think I should put the car?” she asked, once she had backed it out from the parking spot underneath the maple.
“Wherever you think it is easier for you to complete your task,” I responded. “Would you like to practice a little more?”
She did. Not for long, just a few twists and turns before stopping at the spot outside the second garage door, where the electrical outlet was.
Once she was done and had put the vacuum, Windex, soapy water, and rags away, she shot me a glance and a grin.
“Sure,” I said knowingly. “Put the car back.”
This was her first lesson in driving, and she did it all by herself, she had accomplished something new all by herself. As she quietly got out of the car and handed me the key, the smile on her face lit up all around her.
That was my lesson.