At 5:40 this morning, in the dark and drizzle, we pulled away from the curb with my 15 year old daughter at the wheel. I sat in the passenger seat and watched the wet road, saw coppery leaves in a pretty drift under the tree they’d fallen from, undisturbed yet by cars driving over them.
Our daughter has 6am drylands practice for swimming on Mondays and Wednesdays. She’s gradually been adding more challenging drives to her practice: first around the neighborhood, then around other neighborhoods, then to the next town over by small roads, then on the highway. A few weeks ago, she graduated to driving to and from swim practice, during the daylight hours, on the highway. Then rush during rush hour. Then after sunset.
This morning, we went in the blackness long before sunrise. It had rained in the night, and was drizzling when we left the house. The brakes squeaked in the wetness — it’s been a long time since it’s rained here — and the drizzle was in that awkward phase where it is constant enough that you have to regularly use the wipers, but the lowest speed on the windshield wipers is too fast.
About halfway to the gym, we were swallowed by a fog bank. On the wet, hilly highway, in the dark, in the rain. She did great, but I, of course, worried. One day, she’ll be doing this without me in the passenger seat. Winter will come, and there will be snow and ice. When the kids were little, I worried about injuries. As they grow up and prepare to move out, I worry about their lives.