Just run me over now.

My son just passed his driver’s permit test, and that means that I have two student drivers in the family, neither of which are particularly interested in driving, but it is HAPPENING.  So many life lessons happening around this, too. First of all, my oldest had a permit that she held so long with so few hours of practice that it expired, and we have to redo the process. My son decided that he could just wing it on permit test day last week, and ended up flunking the test. He was able to retest and pass today, but he’s learning, once again, that studying actually helps. Who knew, right?

I assumed that my husband would be the one taking the kids to drive, as he tends to roll with more risky stuff than I do, but he apparently can’t handle the stress of it all. No, he can’t handle it, so I’m the one white-knuckling it in the passenger seat, doing Lamaze breathing and wracking my brain for driving routes with generous right-hand shoulders and moderate speed limits.

I need these kids driving, because I am really darn tired of being the solution that helps them get from point A to points B and beyond. They have a car waiting for them in the driveway. They just need to embrace the call of the road.

Even with the absolute desire on my part for the kids to be independently mobile, and wishing that I had a more relaxed approach to teaching them to drive, I’m still not exactly well-equipped. My jaw is aching from clenching my teeth and stretching my face into a tight, fake smile while my daughter navigates her way around the neighborhood, one jerky turn at a time. I can only imagine what my son’s first jaunts will unleash. I am already going gray. Perhaps I will be bald.

 

Attempting culture

On Friday, the hubs and I took the three kids to see the San Francisco Symphony perform selections from John Williams. We’ve taken the kids to concerts, plays and performances many times before, mostly when they were much younger. We had a subscription to child-friendly productions at our local performing arts center when the kids were really young. As they got older and more opinionated about what they wanted to do with their time, they started resisting some of my ideas about live entertainment, and we stopped trying for a while. Still, this last year, I bought tickets for the whole family to go to see the San Francisco production of Hamilton, and a few other concerts and local shows. Pearls before swine, perhaps, but I figure I’ve only got a few more years to smack some cultural appreciation into these kids, and I’m gonna do it.

Growing up, I loved to attend the ballet, opera, symphony and plays. I loved getting dressed up, sometimes eating somewhere fancy, and feeling cultured and grown up for a few hours.  My kids… not so much. Maybe it was the ballroom dancing that had them in suits and dresses every Tuesday for a few years. Maybe it’s my work-from-home example, where yoga pants and a tank top are de rigueur. In any case, there was major grumbling from my son about having to wear a suit to “just go sit in a room and listen to music.”

We also had the chance to eat dinner in the Wattis Room, which is a small dining room for people who subscribe to a series of symphony concerts. We aren’t subscribers, but we’re going to see a second concert this summer (Ben Folds!) and I guess that counts. I like eating at fancy restaurants, but again, the kids… not so much. They like predictable menus, generous portions and a single fork and knife at their place setting. We had excellent, attentive service with a relaxed atmosphere, but the kids all felt out of place and challenged by the menu. My son did order the Spanish octopus salad with watermelon, which, for a kid who is all about the fried mozzarella sticks at chain restaurants, was pretty ambitious. He ate the whole thing, too.

The show was great. I loved that they selected some obscure selections from John Williams’s movie scores, and that they invited local Star Wars cosplay groups to come in costume and march in and out at strategic points.

 

On the way home, the kids were humming the music and they all said that they enjoyed the concert and were glad that they went. They also requested that we stop at McDonalds on the way home. SIGH. One show at a time.

 

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