So the day arrived when my teenage daughter Coco was going for her driving test.
I tried to be cool I really did. Even when the girl in the queue in front of us failed and started crying all over the RMS office, I held it together and gave words of reassurance to my tiny, weeny, baby who was about to sit in front of the wheel of a car with a stranger.
The truth is I wanted to cry all over the RMS office. How did this happen? She was running around the backyard in nothing but gumboots and a nappy, jumping in puddles 5 minutes ago.
Deep breath. She’s nervous, I’m nervous…
The driving tester is the only one who looks calm and thankfully friendly too,… I hear her say “I was going to call my daughter ‘Coco'” as they disappear to the car park… it’s a good sign I tell myself.
Like so many, I failed my first driving test… almost hitting a cyclist and speeding in a school zone apparently (after the test I said “what cyclist?” oops).
After a successful second attempt, I’ll never forget that first moment I drove alone. Squealing out loud and singing to INXS’s What You Need at the top of my lungs all the way to Mardi Corrie’s house. Exhilaration from every pore.
And my trusty first rust bucket… Mona the Corona.. orangey red, $600 (mum and dad went halves) manual and quickly decked out in fluffy cushions and mirror balls. I was the envy of my friends, who I was soon picking up ALL THE TIME… and it was the first time I really felt like an adult.
Waiting,…. Waiting…. I wonder if Coco’s had to do a parallel park or a three point turn….
Then, she’s back, flushed and hopeful… but unsure.
Her name is called from behind the glass counter and I hear “Congratulations”…
YES! Wait,.. NO! I mean yay… um stop. Hang on, I’m not ready for this. What just happened? “well done honey”. Noooooooooooooo……
Less than half an hour later she’s backing out of our driveway to pick up her brother for a ‘Maccas run’ as I stand frozen in the doorway, watching the world beckon my daughter, knowing there’s nothing I can do.
Without even realising it starts playing in my head… ‘this is what you need, what you need’…
I know it is,…. And I’m not just thinking of her.