Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Speeding Tickets and Fender Benders

I got a speeding ticket this morning.

54 in a 40.

Hudson and Essie were with me, on Vickery, headed back to school from Dr. Kelley's office.
Essie was basking in the smooth, unfamiliar sensation of her brand-new-just-got-braces-off teeth, and Hud was asking if his baseball practice was indeed tonight instead of last night (yes - moved to DBAT because of the rain - again). I'd just read an article during their appointments on the Supreme Court's recent hearings, and my thoughts were still swirling with the potential ramifications of the highest court in our land changing the definition of marriage as we've known it since the beginning of time... literally...

So yes, I imagine I was going 54 in a 40.

Today is Tuesday. Last Friday, as in four-days-ago-last Friday, I picked my car up from Fort Worth Auto Body, where Jerry spent a week meticulously fixing both the back right bumper (darn that tree in Nik's yard ~ jumped in my way, even when I had my eye on it) AND the front right fender (not worth describing that one). 
Now add this morning's traffic ticket.
And never mind those pesky stoplight cameras that have somehow photographed my car going through not one, but two red (yellow?!) lights.
All of these "fender benders" - at-fault-accidents, according to Allstate - tickets and citations have occurred in the last month.

I don't have a perfect driving record, but I honestly don't recall my last speeding ticket. It's happened before, but not in years. And the only crunch on my car in recent years was when another car bumped into us in the parking garage during our amazing, stress-free cruise last spring break. So there, Allstate, at least that one was not at-fault.

The irony of all of this, of course, other than the fact that Corbin's paychecks from his new job are now going exclusively to pay his wife's traffic violations, is that about two months ago I started teaching Branson how to drive.
Uh huh. I'm the teacher. We bypassed "Sears" for "Mom."

Very interesting.
In fact, the most interesting piece of this whole mess is that I am realizing with every accumulating ticket and ding, that my first-born-son is in fact capable of making mistakes. Just like his momma.

I don't like getting in trouble. In fact, I cried a bit this morning when the kind officer walked away from my car. He was just doing his job, and I just felt awful about the whole thing - speeding,  breaking the law, not thinking while I was driving, and then of course getting caught. Hudson thought my tears were a little overboard until I mentioned that they were in part due to the accumulation of violations and mistakes. Then I think he got it.

But back to the whole teacher becoming the student dynamic ~ I'm thankful for a fresh perspective of how easy it is to make mistakes on the road. My familiarity with the rhythms of driving has clearly fogged my attention and focus. It's been a wake-up call. But even more so, it's softened my margin for error with my student-driver son.

I'm realizing, of course, it's not just with driving that my kids need margin in my expectations.
I have a feeling that I might be remembering my high school report cards with rose-colored glasses. And thank goodness I don't have my teenage years documented on Instagram or Facebook, or copies of texts I sent my junior-high girl friends. Gosh.

I would imagine every parent on the planet has battled finding a balance of training our kids toward "excellence" and yet fully accepting them, mistakes and warts and all.

I'll be honest, I want my kids to work hard and do well in school. I want for them to handle friendships and relationships with grace and wisdom. I want for them to be attentive, collision-free drivers.
I want for them to strive for excellence.
But in this process of getting to spend my days with them, and seeing how quickly these days are fleeting (!), more than anything I want to guide them with grace and love and kindness. And I want them to know that no matter what, they are fully loved.

Speeding tickets and fender benders are reminding me of that.