On a typical Friday afternoon, I would rush home from work (maybe make a quick forty-five minute Happy Hour pit-stop), change my clothes, and head back out for a night of pick-ups and drop-offs. My two oldest kids and my seventh grader would need to be picked up from practice and later dropped at a friend’s house. My youngest would need a ride to her soccer game, usually around 7:00 PM, and then, my wife and I would sit down to a nice Friday dinner at 9:30. Friday’s take on a whole different meaning than they did when I was in my twenties.
So, yesterday was obviously different until my daughter asked, “Will you take me driving?” My heart rate instantly went up (I even had a little sweat on my forehead) and I hoped beyond hope that my wife would save me and offer to take her. C’mon Sarah, save me. You know how nervous it makes me to drive with her. She just smiled a deviant smile my way and shook her head. No chance.
I have patience, but when it comes to driving with my daughter, patience is gone. She brakes too late and too hard. She takes turns too quickly, and she talks too much, which worries me that it is distracting her from the thought process that goes into driving. Needless to say, I have a constant hold to the passenger seat door’s inside handle, one foot it pressed as hard as possible to the elevated part of the floor, and I’m constantly leaning forward. Last time, my back hurt for two days.
“Sure.” I say with a shaky voice.
“Where are we going to drive to?” She asks.
Now, if my patience is going to be shot for the day and my heart rate is going to be tested, I need to get something out of this for me. So, I reply, “The bottle shop.” This is my favorite craft beer shop that is considered an essential business/store and is still open for purchasing delicious adult beverages.
“Do you think Mom’s goin’ be cool with me driving you to a bottle shop?”
“Am I buying you something there?” I say half sarcastically.
“No. Good point.”
“Is she taking you driving?” Again, I say half sarcastically.
“Another good point.” She smiles.
I have to admit that she did a nice job navigating the streets, traffic lights, and stop signs along the way, which included carefully passing over railroad tracks. I was impressed, but still a little shaky.
The bottle shop has the cutest, most well behaved dog, Barley, who jumps up to see you when you are purchasing your craft beer. My daughter, a real dog lover, was left in the van. Social distancing and all.
While purchasing my beverages, I could not help myself as I looked at the screen of local brewery taps, so I added a Growler fill to my purchase. Telling the owner, “My sixteen-year-old daughter drove me here. I may need something extra after the ride home. If we make it home in one piece.” Again, only half joking.
She did so well on the way home that we drove a few extra miles past our house. When we got home, my youngest daughter had chalked a message to her sister on the driveway, “Great Job Driving, Hannah”. I helped her add “and Dad” to the bottom of the message. I survived (and I have some beverages to help me celebrate:).