I grew up in the middle of a country song. A place where life is planned around harvest and planting season, otherwise no one will show up at your party because they will be in the fields.
I went back there this weekend because as much as I hated the place growing up it feels good to go back from time to time and relax. I like taking my kid back there for the simple fact that she can experience what I did. Sure, we live in a small town right now but where I grew up doesn’t have a Target 15 minutes down the road.
Rebecca is 10 and she learned to drive a combine at the age of 8. She would sit on her uncles lap and drive uneven lines through the corn and scream every time she scared up some deer thinking Bambi was going to get sucked in. This weekend I figured it was about time she learned to drive an actual truck. My truck to be exact.
Rebecca was ecstatic at this idea and begged me the second we pulled into town. I pulled the truck out into the pasture, then she came around the driver’s side and hopped right in. While the truck was still in park I had her tap the gas and brake a few times. She heard the rev of the engine when she hit the gas and her eyes lit up. That’s what Dad’s Mustang sounds like when we go real fast. Ah, power. We are car people and it has certainly trickled down to her blood.
I didn’t get nervous until I sat in the passenger side and looked at the driver’s side. Woah. The real thing was only 6 years away, weren’t we just watching Elmo? I told her to put her foot on the brake and put it in drive. This is where it all hit her and she announced that she could wait till this summer to learn. Nope, foot on the brake, put it in drive and sloooooowly let up.
We were facing down hill so we started creeping forward and I had to remind her to put her hands on the steering wheel as she peered over it amazed. I told her to tap the brake and stop the truck as we weren’t going to even touch the gas today. 2 MPH can still throw you back in your seat when the brakes are hit hard enough.
That is what we did, let off the brake, push it back to a stop, put it in park, giggle at the excitement, put it in drive, roll forward, honk at the cow, hit the brake. Well, that is what she did, I spent most of my time wondering how the fuck I will teach her to drive on a road without a panic attack. I guess that is what her Dad and his Mustang are for though.
My whole family watched this from the big bay window of the house and Rebecca suddenly had a whole new swagger when she walked back inside after we were done. A swagger I wasn’t quite ready for when I’m used to her still sleeping in footy pj’s that are covered in monkey’s. Thankfully, time slowed itself back down when she later begged to have an Easter Egg hunt and fell asleep with chocolate still on her face.