Victoria passed her driver’s test today. Parallel parking and everything. She’s sixteen and on her way.
A few months after G and I started dating, I was over at their house. Victoria was watching TV with her friend Emma and didn’t hear G when he called to her from the kitchen. I told him, “She’s transfixed.” From the living room, Victoria hollered, “I’m not six–I’m six AND A HALF!”
That’s only a year older then than Carlos is now. Jeez. I blinked and this happened.
Well, when it was time for her to go back over to her other house tonight, she came out to the pool where I was skimming green sludge. She put her arm around me for a hug. “You sure you don’t want to stay for dinner? We’ve got pool cleaning to do and it’s Taco Tuesday!” She laughed. “As fun as that sounds, I better get going…”
As she walked away, I felt this overwhelming urge to say “BE CAREFUL! CALL WHEN YOU GET THERE. DON’T PICK UP HITCHHIKERS. REMEMBER YOUR BLIND SPOTS. CHECK YOUR MIRRORS BEFORE YOU REVERSE AND DON’T FORGET TO LOOK OVER YOUR SHOULDER TOO. WHAT I’M SAYING IS CHECK YOUR MIRRORS BUT DON’T RELY ON YOUR MIRRORS, ALWAYS LOOK TWICE. LOOK TWICE, SAVE A LIFE, MOTORCYCLES ARE EVERYWHERE. DON’T RIDE A MOTORCYCLE.”
Instead, for the first time in my life as a parent, I said the same thing Daddy always said when one of us was leaving–“Be careful. I don’t have any extra children.”
I get it. I get what he was feeling. You want to see them grow and get more capable, but oh, there’s so much they don’t even know to look for yet. But we smile and send them out into the world with a little wave.
P.S. – I just remembered another little tidbit about that day at G’s house when Victoria was six AND A HALF. I got my first speeding ticket on the way over there! Going 45 in a 35 down College Station Road. After 21 years of driving without a ticket, I got THREE that summer! Speeding, rolling through a stop sign, and a parking ticket downtown. So what the hell do I know?