My husband corrects my driving on a pretty regular basis. I’m not a bad driver according to my driving record, but I am a pretty distracted person and I’m a nervous driver, this makes me an unsafe driver. This use to really aggravate me, until I learned to listen to where is heart was at.
Years ago, in college, I found I needed a car. While it was nice that Ryan drove me around town I liked going home and seeing my parents on a regular basis. He offered to help by taking me out shopping. Between my home town and his we probably hit a dozen or more used car lots in a few weeks. He walked me through the whole process, he had me chat with the salesmen, he showed me what he was looking for each time he opened a hood. He encouraged me to speak up if something didn’t feel right, but also pushed me to try more and more cars. I fell in love with a 1993 Toyota Corolla (it was purple). The car was old, it needed a tune up, the defrosters sometimes didn’t work, but it was all mine when spring semester started in January.
I owned the car maybe 3 or 4 months before I got in my first accident. It was a big one, completely totaled my car. I was driving back to college from my parents’ house and about half way down the road I blew a tire. On the side of the road, flashers on, I call my mom. I had no idea what I was doing. Next thing I know I’m slammed into by a Suburban going 80mph (according to the witnesses), my windows are shattered, the trunk is officially in the backseat, my car is in the middle of traffic and I’m trapped in my car. (Did I mention my mother heard all of this right before my cell phone dropped?)
A very nice big rig trucker blocked traffic, pulled my car door open as I kicked it, and wrapped me in a big bear hug. Soon enough police were there and I was sitting in the back of a cop car taking inventory of the day. This is when I had to call Ryan, who was at work.
I texted him first “I need to call you, are you free?” He told me that something didn’t feel right, it must be important as I never asked to call him at work. He called me right away. I took a deep breath and said “I’m fine, but my car isn’t” and then I cried. He wasn’t mad, he wasn’t angry; he was just worried about me.
So – what does all of this have to do with my driving skills, well, I watch my rear view mirror way too much and it has become an issue. Up until that day in 2008 I never anticipated ever being in a car accident, my parents weren’t in car accidents, my siblings had never been in them – so I had almost never entertained the idea. But now, well now obviously the world was out to kill me in my car!
In the summer of 2008 we decided to drive for two days cross country to spend a week with his father. This is when the training started. We had two 12 hour days in the car, and I drove for maybe a total of four hours. It was tense; He didn’t relax for a minute. “you really need to be in the right lane” “babe, keep your turn signal on until you are completely in the next lane” “If you use your cruise control you need to watch the cars in front of you better, get over soon” “You have to keep your speed steady, you’re probably driving the cars behind you crazy” I was livid!! I was so thankful when the gas tank pinged and I took us to the next exit slamming the car door on my exit. I refused to drive the remainder of the trip – well, because obviously he didn’t trust my driving!
My husband wants better for me, he wants better of me. While the ultimate plan is to be a stay at home mom raising his children and keeping house for the time being I drive to work – and I drive over an hour one way. Lots of roads, lots of nervous mornings, anxious evenings and it only is only amplified in the winter.
Ryan has never shied away from a being a teacher. But both of us had some learning to do. I had to learn to hear him differently, and he had to learn to instruct differently. I had to put my ego aside and listen to his heart. He’s learned that freaking out and yelling “accelerate! You’re going to get stuck in the damn snow” might make his fiancé more emotional then she already is. I’ve learned to pay attention when he’s driving and he’s found that talking about driving while I’m in the passenger seat allows me to learn from another perspective. I’ve learned to trust he can control his own car and he’s realized maybe he shouldn’t intentionally drift without warning me first.
I hope I’m never on the other side of the phone when someone calls to say I was almost squished like a bug on the side of the freeway but I love my husband for dealing with it, and helping me get though my irrational fears.
Until next time,