coaching, family

Vroom Vroom

The engine has started. The permit is in hand. She checks the mirror to make sure she looks cute. Yup, that’s a correct statement. Here we go. The car is in motion with a teen operating the vehicle!

Month one is here. We make it to the highway. We hit the country roads. We yielded in many scenarios. We drove in the dark. We even drove in the rain. We got gas and she pumped. Big deal for her. We passed a cop which made her super nervous.

My favorite trip was to Chick-fil-A. She wanted to maneuver the drive thru, place her order herself, pay and make sure she could get to the window to get the food. That ending part wasn’t so pretty but the long arm reach was fun to watch. She was sad however when she realized she couldn’t eat the hot food while driving.

So many firsts for her. So many stressful situations for me. We are working on it together. We have time to focus without distractions. It’s been a good first month. Well I should say most of the month was good. A few disagreements on what is left and what is right. I figured that was a prerequisite for the permit but I might have assumed too much. I guess when under pressure you might hear go right and go left?

I’ve decided to document this roller coaster ride with her because it’s time I won’t get back. It’s a memory I won’t be able to recreate. It’s a time to build her up and coach her on something that will give her independence, achievement and a right of passage. She is my youngest child. My last time to make an impact on roadway safety.

From the copilot seat, I survived some more miles of behind the wheel training. I’m learning new ways to cope with stress, anxiety and fear. All of which I don’t normally have to deal with unless I’m buckling that seatbelt to go for a ride with permit girl.

Until next time. Drive safely. Be patient if you see a slow driver. They could be learning to drive.

challenges

Right of Passage

Obtaining a permit to drive a vehicle is such a rush for teens. A ready-set-go button you press for independence. It happens immediately for them. Much later for the parents.

We as adults know all too well there is much to learn. Time behind the wheel is required. Exposure to weather elements. Exposure to traffic. So many variables. Corrections, discussions, modifications and so on. Yet for some odd reason teens think their parents know absolutely nothing. Nothing about life let alone driving.

Lord help me: I have a new permitted driver. One who knows all but listens to nothing. It is going to be a long and grueling process for both of us. Many lessons to learn. Many challenges to overcome.

For now I’m working on my breathing techniques while in the car, while the car is in motion, and when the vehicle is stopped. This includes sighs, giggles, OMG and potential curse words. If I focus on breathing I am less likely to do the above which the trainee can feel.

Random post for today.

family, Teddie Aspen

Dog Lessons

It wasn’t long ago I was digging through boxes leftover from my childhood home. I ran across an American Kennel Club certificate. Maximillian was his name.

I had heard his name many times in my life, often with a sneer from one of my brothers. They loved their dog, and I was the reason we got rid of him. Maximillian, the prized pooch, couldn’t stop knocking me over as a newly walking toddler. So, he had to go.

All this to say, I didn’t grow up with dogs. I had a cat named Snoopy I treasured but was allergic to (a story for another post), but never a dog. I just didn’t get dogs. Never wanted one. And who knows, maybe I was even a little scared of them from all my hard knocks as a babe.

As an adult, when my family wanted to get a dog, I resisted. We even had a dog live with us for a while that didn’t really work out. We ended up taking him to a new home where he could have the room and attention he needed.

Then Penny came along. My sister-in-law became her unexpectedly permanent foster mom. She needed a place to live and a family to love her. Would we be interested? I didn’t really want this at all. We could take her for a 2-week trial to see if we could handle it.

And she never left. We live together but I wouldn’t say she loves me. Still, my heart softened seeing how much everyone else loved her. She changed our family.

And then came the dog that I really did love. Chester. The unlikely, homely, wiry guy from the pound. The underdog. I didn’t even know why we would ever need 2 dogs. I was just getting used to 1! Then Chester who got scared by sudden movements and noises, Chester who always backed out of the room…Chester came along. He was very shy at first but eventually came around and became sweet, playful Chester. He loves to run and bound through the woods, and his sad eyes will pull at your heart strings every time. Chester changed my heart about dogs.

Now there’s the newest member of the clan named Nash, who I’ve taken a liking to. I even embrace my extended family and friend’s dogs. Heck, I even get to walk dogs and dog sit once in a while. Truthfully, I still don’t know how to act around dogs, and they can tell. It doesn’t come naturally for me and maybe never will. Thankfully, I’ve learned that many dogs are pretty forgiving if you at least try. They teach me about protection, loyalty, priorities and unconditional love. They seem to bring out the best in people just by being there and present in the moment. That bowls me over in the best of ways.

perspective

Voting

Voting is kind of a big deal to me.

Don’t get me wrong…I hate the politics, the mud slinging, and the animosity. The ads, the flyers in the mail, and all that other garbage isn’t my thing. Still, I get a little choked up when we stand in line and wait our turn to cast our ballots. My parents taught me it was a big deal. I’m not perfect in voting in runoffs and other local things, but I do show up for many voting opportunities.

This time around, we’ve already been inundated with media about long lines and voting issues. I opened the “wait times” webpage for my county on the first day of early voting. The first day had the lines at 7 hours at one polling place! My husband got it in on the third or fourth day. When I saw “15 minutes” one Friday after work, I pointed my car in that direction.

It was a beautiful fall afternoon. A bit of chill and breeze in the air. People waited in a long line that stretched around the fairgrounds. Everyone had masks on. People gave each other space. The man in front of me had scrubs on and had his wife and small kids in tow. People brought lawn chairs just in case. It was peaceful. The line moved along. People of different races, different backgrounds, different experiences and belief systems. We all just waited our turn.

Clipboard man came out with armloads of 10 at a time. Instructions were shouted. People followed along. No drama, no fisticuffs. A sharp contrast from the mutiny and anger we see in the news. I will say there were several armed officers standing by. Hopefully they were not the cause for the calm. An insurance policy I’d hope we would never need.

I waited maybe 30 minutes. We moved through the stations quickly. The poll workers were as diverse as the line waiting. All ages, genders, races. People I wouldn’t envision sitting together at a restaurant table or bar working in concert, communicating, even laughing. Filling a role to keep this democracy thing going.

I got my card and my “voting stylus” – a new pandemic souvenir. I voted. I scanned my ballot, which I don’t remember doing before. I took my sticker. Almost 10,000 votes had already been cast at that one voting place in day 5 of early voting.

I guess I’m just nostalgic, but my chest swells when I think that I get a voice in making these decisions, and my voice is just as important as any other. There are always problems. Voter suppression. Intimidation. I’m not naive enough to think there aren’t people actively trying to undermine something so important, powerful, and influential. But for the moment, I am celebrating the fact that I get to play a role in the process.

If you can, VOTE! And tell the people that matter to you to do it, too.

mental health, perspective

The Web

Can you see the web hidden in the dew and the sunlight? If you can’t it’s okay. I will tell you about it.

The web is masterfully crafted. Many layers. Anchored skillfully. It was a beautiful web. There were spiders to the eye. There were no prey woven in. It was a midnight masterpiece I’m sure. One that a skillful spider crafted while I slept. 

When I awoke it caught my eye in sun. It was hard to get a picture but the dew and the sun made it stunning to admire. Not many can say they found a web stunning but on this day I did.

It’s craftsmanship had me interested. Much like life we live with many tangled layers similar to a web. Carefully crafted relationships. Overlapping work and pleasure lines. Family connections. Friend circles. All interwoven to fit what we call life.

I was drawn to this web today. A simple part of nature. Many won’t see. Many will take for granted or even wipe it a way in an instant. But the beauty of it all is a spider will get back up and craft a different web. Maybe one that can withstand more than just a simple wipe away.

This was a firmly build web. Anchored. Robust. How does your life web compare? Is it flimsy? Can it be wiped away easily? Are you memorable like this web was for me? Can you say your feet are planted firmly in life?

Life is so full of many ups and downs. Sometimes you have to pick yourself off the ground and start fresh to build a better life web. The beauty is we are all capable of doing this. 

Get after your day today. Look at your web. If it’s tangled, worn or flimsy look at options to refresh your web of life. If it’s robust and built sturdy look around and see if you can share your gift of life stability with others. Somebody nearby may need help with their web.

Enjoy your day.