I was clutching the penny I found on the way to the driving school when Chase’s instructor ushered me out of the lobby. I wasn’t surprised when I found it. I half expected God would give me some kind of encouraging word to hang onto while Chase took his behind-the-wheel test. So many folks were praying for him I think that penny fell from heaven rather than someone’s pocket.
Having to go into the backroom worried me though. This had to mean bad news. Now I assumed the penny was meant to remind me this wasn’t the end of the world. I took a deep breath and said, “Well?”
“Well,” Tom said before pausing for what seemed like an eternity. “If Chase drives like that every day, I’d ride with him anytime. Congratulations mom—he passed.”
Cue the tears and hugs all around. Now that penny would have to be tucked inside the glove box of the car along with the two I found when I bought it five years ago. I’d hoped at the time Chase would be the second driver of it but it felt like a long shot then when he could barely read.
It was a proud day for us both. I didn’t teach Luke to drive but I somehow managed to teach Chase. It felt like we’d both passed the test. On my parenting resume I don’t know why this was so important to me but it was. Perhaps, because there are so many things with Chase over the years that have required more expertise than I have. Between my two kids he’s the one who’s kept me humble. Anything I could teach Luke to do, I’ve never been able to teach Chase. A reminder that half the time in parenting its dumb luck you get by on.
This is why I shrug off parenting kudos. I know what I know and I’m no super parent. I just take it one day at a time like everyone else. I think the only thing I do right is keep showing up and keep praying.
Now a week later while I’ve watched Chase revel in his success I’m more thankful than ever I stuck it out. When he was able to drive himself to his grandmother’s to visit his cousins from out of town he was so proud. One of those cousins is a year younger and a foot taller than Chase but I’d swear those car keys helped him look him in the eye. His cousin isn’t driving yet, but could be, and Chase knew he’d beat him to some imaginary finish line. It’s not a competition of course, but when you’re the one always behind the thought alone is empowering.
That’s what I wanted for him, more than the ability to drive I wanted the ability to thrive—a chance to be more independent and experience life from the driver’s seat and not always as my passenger. It’s not that I don’t want to take him anywhere. I’ll actually miss the time with him. But, I know he has to learn to fly solo. That’s a natural part of life.
He hasn’t always appreciated this and as proud as he feels right now, I know that the excitement will wear off. That’s okay life often lacks excitement. I do hope however, I can remember this experience.
One of my great challenges in life is not getting frustrated with God when He keeps me in the driver’s seat. When He doesn’t just take me where I need to go but pushes me to figure things out on my own. Like me with Chase, it’s not that He doesn’t care. It’s that giving me a chance to thrive is far more important to Him than always having His hand on the wheel.
Unfortunately, life as a believer isn’t a limo ride. It’s more like Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride but if you keep hanging on and keep at it you can survive and thrive by God’s grace despite how bumpy it feels. I’m thankful for this reminder from my not-so-little-boy, who can now give me a lift if I need it!