Yesterday was orientation day at the school my youngest daughter will attend next year. My fifth orientation there, but her first. She was pretty pumped. It's interesting to parent five different people. The events in their lives roll by like cars on a train ... one after another and I know pretty much what to expect (until they leave the station). But for them, each one individually, it's the first time they've seen the event. V has never been in that building before. She's never had a locker before. She told me to slow down ... the turn is coming up ... Bossy Baby doesn't realize that I have ten years worth of drop offs and pick ups right after that turn. It takes considerable patience to parent. What she was really saying is, "Here's the final turn ... almost there at the unknown region ... not a little kid anymore, but still unsure, untried ... everything is moving too fast ... am I ready for this?". I'm just slightly annoyed. I don't like unsolicited backseat driving advice in general, but certainly not from an eleven year old (I arranged a little learning package for her just last week. Our vehicle with the automatic transmission needed to be moved from where it had been washed to where it is normally parked. I told her she could drive it the 150 or so feet over the lawn to the end of the drive way. Based on all her driving tips for me, I thought it might go well. Turns out - she doesn't know how to drive. Pretty much not at all. I let her pull in to the azalea bushes twice. We have a huge, open front yard ... It got eaten up pretty fast with a right turning back up and try again. One foot on the gas and the other on the brakes was not a new one on me. The pecan tree was spared by a last minute wheel input from the right seat. She had her epiphany ... "Mom, I don't know how to drive").
So, here we are. First time for her ... I want it to be a great experience for her. I want it to be her experience, not my fifth time through. I hold the door open for her ... she is uncharastically tentative. It's a big step over the threshold. Her eyes are huge as she turns to look at me. I smile and wink. One foot on the gas and the other on the breaks. She'll figure it out.