It has happened. Another check mark off the bucket list. It seemed unthinkable. But now it has happened. My fourth child, my baby, my little one, has earned her driver’s license. I am, by trade, a domestic engineer…aka, a stay at home mom. For me and other’s with this job title, we’ve spent many hours fulfilling the “chauffeur” role. I half had expected my kids to buy me gloves and a chauffeur’s cap one year for Christmas. I’ve spent countless, countless hours behind the wheel of a mini van or mid-sized SUV taking my prodigy to and fro, fro and to. I was always in the driver’s seat. I saw the road ahead. I planned the course. I decided where to turn, when to turn, whether or not a U-turn was acceptable.
In 2008, a passenger hopped in and climbed onto my lap. This made it a little bit difficult to see the road ahead. It was easy to fall into a pot hole. I had to move my head left or right to see clearly out the front window. I learned to use my mirrors a little bit better though. This passenger had a name. And that name was metastatic breast cancer, MBC. MBC has been on my lap for seven years now. And, while it has made sitting in the driver’s seat and seeing that road stretching ahead a little more difficult, I have maintained my seat. Blessedly! While that passenger is still with me, I try to think of MBC as something that decided to just come along for the ride, but lets me stay in control. Until now.
Now, I am relegated to the back seat. My children have taken over the front seat! I have to get used to this new perspective. My mother, now 91, has not been driving now for over a year (thankfully, right?!?). She just said to me last month that it seemed that people were taking better care of their yards and planting more flowers than in the past. I assured her that, in the area through which we were driving, people had always taken meticulous care of their yards and gardens. But, I also responded that now that she was a passenger, she was able to soak in these great views! And so this is where I am trying to figure things out. My view through the back seat makes it difficult to see the road ahead. It seems to me that now, suddenly, my children are able to choose the turns. They decide when it’s a sharp right or when to follow the gentle bend in the road. They decide how fast to go, how slow to go, what we need to observe, where we will stop. I see things from the side. It’s different seeing things from the side, with a better view of the back than the front.
It seems that as we age, that’s how it goes. We look more behind us. The road behind us seems so much prettier. The road ahead…we can’t really see it so well. We need different sorts of glasses or something for that. What does the road ahead hold? Are there pot holes right underneath us? Will we hit a squirrel? It’s hard to tell. But, behind us everything seems crystal clear. We remember that road. It looks familiar. It’s comfortable. It’s safe. We can see that!