A Car for Sparkle Girl

This column first appeared in the November 2016 issue of “Forsyth Family” magazine.

Not long after Sparkle Girl got her driver’s license, she began talking about wanting a car of her own.
I might ask her what she wanted for lunch, and she might say, “I don’t know. But I do know I want a car.”

“What show should we watch tonight?”

“I’m not sure. But I do know I want a car.”

I could go on but you get the drift.

Now that she has her own car, the world is different. We knew that it would be. As with many big changes in life, though, I didn’t fully grasp how those changes would feel. And there were aspects of the changes that I didn’t see coming at all.

Back in the days before Sparkle Girl had her license, Garnet and I would have to drive her here and there. I was happy to do that. After a day at work, I sometimes wished that I didn’t have to go back out but I could count on the actual experience of taking her and picking her up to be quite pleasant.
Just Sparkle Girl and me riding along, talking about whatever came up. Sometimes just riding along and not saying anything. I miss those times.

The other day, Sparkle Girl was talking about wanting to go somewhere, and I told her that I would be happy to take her. When she and Garnet looked at me funny, I realized I had forgotten for a moment that she didn’t need for me to give her rides anymore. I felt a little sad.

We had known that we would miss her when she went off to college or moved out or took whatever that next big step proved to be. What I hadn’t realized was how big a difference driving would be. Couple driving with a more active social life, and we just don’t see her as much as we used to.

I miss her.

At the same time, I understand that it’s a good thing that she has grown into a responsible and independent young woman.

As I think one aspect or another of Sparkle Girl driving and her increased sense of independence, I am sometimes reminded of experiences connected with driving when I was in high school and with me exerting my independence. I already knew my parent took good care of me but I am getting an even better sense of just how well they took care of me. It took going through similar experiences as a parent to give me that perspective.

One memory that was stirred up comes from the days before I had my driver’s license. I had a regular girlfriend, and my father would drive us on our dates. As a minister, he worked seven days a week and many nights so he had learned how to grab a nap when the opportunity presented itself.

I learned early on that, as soon as my girlfriend and I got out of the car so that I could walk her to the door, he would fall fast asleep. So I didn’t have to worry about him waiting for me. We could visit at the door as long as we wanted to. When I went back to the car, I would wake up my dad and we would drive home.

Sparkle Girl driving and becoming more independent has also made Garnet and I more fully appreciate just what a lovely young woman she’s turning out to be.

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