#reverb10 Day 5: Let Go

5 12 2010

PROMPT: Let Go. What (or whom) did you let go of this year? Why?

I pulled the car into the CUB parking lot.  The grocery store had closed months before (as a result of gentrification or too much theft, depending on perspective).  I parked in a location with no poles, no curbs, nothing but concrete, put the car in neutral, set the parking brake, opened the door and got cautiously into the passenger seat as my 16 yr old son closed the driver’s side door.

This was it: this was the moment before the moment that I let go.

He had his temps,  had already been through driving school and had even driven before – with his papa and in an automatic car.  Today was the day that I would teach him how to drive a stick – in my mid-life crisis Honda del Sol (painted Ultrasonic Blue to match my favorite Victoria Secret pj’s).

I got uncharacteristically calm and he got uncharacteristically attentive.  I covered everything that I could think of: clutch, brake, gas, clutch, ease up on clutch while easing down on gas, clutch before brake, clutch, clutch, clutch.

It was time to try. Stall once.  Stall twice.  Chug ahead a couple of times, then third stall.  Go ahead and do it again.  He got the car in motion and I talked him through 2nd gear. He was so dang proud!  Then it was time to stop.  And start all over.  The whole time I kept my foot on the invisible passenger side brake.  It didn’t seem to be functioning.  We gridded our way all over the parking lot, back and forth, turned and back across.  With each row and each non-stalled start his confidence grew and I watched the 5 yr old Lego obsessed boy sitting next to me grow into a handsome teenager driving my car.

Then he asked: Can I drive it in the street?  That’s the moment that I let go.  I open my fingers and released control of any threads that I held that connected to the balloons of Andy and myself and my keeping him safe and my security and his freedom.  That moment I knew that things would change and I would be ok and deal with whatever came my way and support him as best as I could, but also have to stand back a bit more and let him fall.  I let go of parenting my little boy and let in helping this young man step into the world.