I vividly remember my Dad teaching me to drive. I had grown up “driving” whatever I could get my hands on. Motorcycles, riding mowers, tractors…if it had wheels. I wanted a turn.
As much as I wanted to drive, I didn’t actually get my license until I was 17. I spent most of high school in New Delhi, India and didn’t need to drive, we took rickshaws or taxis everywhere. I finished high school in the US and wanted my license the minute I was stateside. I was forced to take driver’s ed, but my Dad had already taught me more than any instructor could.
We had spent quite a bit of time that summer in Upstate New York, visiting family. We had the old manual blue Ford Escort station wagon, that would later become my first car, and endless miles of country roads to learn on. I learned parallel parking, threshold breaking, hill starts and some accidental drifting on those loose gravel roads. I remember my Dad stopping me on a steep gravel hill and making me master the hill start with what was left of that old car’s clutch. I stopped, he put me in gear and then I stalled. I must have stalled 10 times before we realized that he had put me in third gear instead of first. It was a great lesson.
Today was my turn. My boys are still young but it won’t be long before Gabe, almost 13, is getting his learners permit. When Gabe was about 4, he said that when he grew up he wanted to drive a car and play with sharp knives. Today he got to check one of those off his list 🙂
We drove way out East to find some empty back roads and the boys took turns with the Jeep. Shep in my lap, just steering, but Gabe all by himself in the drivers seat. They both did awesome and by the end, Gabe could have driven us home! There wasn’t a big hill around, but one day I’ll teach them hill starts in a manual and you can bet I’m putting it in third by mistake.