We walked down the sidewalk, but I couldn’t make Mom hurry. It was my first driving lesson with her, and I wanted to have as many as I could as soon as possible so I could get my license. I couldn’t wait! The spring sunshine was warming, the birds were chirping, and my heart was humming with joy. Driving to me meant independence. The Mt. Airy neighborhood was otherwise quiet on this early Sunday morning.
“Put your foot on the brake before you put the car in drive,” Mom said to me from the passenger seat. I nodded, and pulled out of the parking space in front of my home confidently. “Keep your eyes, on the road,” Mom said softly.
I drove down Durham Street between cars lining either side effortlessly. At the end of the street, I put on my right blinker before Mom could give me further instructions and turned onto Thouron Avenue. “Drive to the elementary school and we’ll circle around the block.” No problem. I made the left turn by Edmonds Elementary School, continued to the end of the playground and turned left. Another left. Then back to Thouron Avenue. My mother raised her eyebrows. “Hmmmm,” was all she said.
Until the time we returned to our parking spot, Mom was silent. As I pulled forward next to the car in front of our spot and then put the car in reverse to slide next to the curb, Mom pushed her glasses on the top of her head and chorused, “Have you driven a car before, Lynne?”
“Of course not, Mom,” I said without looking at her. That would have been a dead giveaway. For months now I had practiced driving up and down the long, gravel road that led to the stables. Mick had taught me to drive since I had turned fifteen. It was a secret I had kept from my mom. She would have been very angry and would have said, “NO MORE BARN!”
We stepped out of the car and walked back to the house without further conversation. Mom knew. She knew that I knew that she knew. That was enough. If we didn’t talk about it, she wouldn’t have to punish me by revoking my privileges. As we entered the house, I managed to eek out, “Thanks, Mom.” She just shook her head.