April 3, 2003
Yesterday I had the dubious pleasure of watching, for the first time, one of my sons drive away... by himself... in my car.
Both of them had their driving tests yesterday; only one of them passed and got his license - the younger one.
Mark, the elder, had many reasons (excuses?) why he did not, foremost among them the fact that his test was administered by a woman.
"Women expect freakin' perfection, but put them behind the wheel and they can't drive for shit!"
It wasn't so much the failure, as the fact that his pesky younger brother did pass. And I'd have had much more sympathy for Mark if we hadn't had a big fight over the weekend concerning whether or not he had earned the privilege of even practicing driving with me in the car.
But still, watching Rob drive off (in my car) was bittersweet, to say the least.
I want him to be happy and to feel free to go wherever he wants, whenever he wants, without having to beg for lifts or be constrained by bus schedules and routes.
I'm glad he had so many friends to go out and celebrate with last night.
I'm also glad they all live in this neighbourhood.
I'm glad that the thrill of achieving this milestone of adulthood outweighs, at least for now, the thrill of achieving the previous one, that of reaching the legal drinking age in Quebec. For he knows that these two privileges are mutually exclusive.
But of course I worry about his being inexperienced behind the wheel and about his being distracted by his rowdy friends.
And, despite myself, I felt a twinge of being no longer needed, redundant, over the hill.
Just a twinge, but even that much surprised me. I value my own independence (such as it is) more than I value the role of earth-mother.
Then I turned on the TV, realized that other people's eighteen year olds are being shot at in Iraq, and had to be glad my sons aren't there, even as I knew some people's children need to be.
And I am still convinced that this war needs to be waged, hypocritical double standard notwithstanding.
I wish with all my heart that it weren't so, but as I watch history repeat itself (or not repeat itself, ideally) I can't stop thinking about the millions who died in World War II, fighting it and as a result of it.
Not just the Jewish millions. All the millions, from both sides.
If the world turns its back on regimes like the one in Iraq, all those millions will have died for nothing.
So from driving tests to the war in Iraq, that's typical of the way my mind keeps returning to the same place.
And now that I'm (mostly) free of chauffeur duty, I will have even more time to think, read, watch and of course e-mail the newspaper and the government.
Go ahead, tell them how you really feel.
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