Wednesday, April 23, 2014
YOLO COUNTY NEWS
99 CENTS

Standing In: Trying to put the brakes on a rite of passage

3LevyWeb

They’re out there, causing even the stoutest of heart among us to sit white-knuckled, pale-faced, our blood pressure inching toward the danger zone. Our right foot might instinctively reach for the invisible brake, some of us perhaps even mouthing a silent prayer…

Our children are beginning to drive, some of them with a nervous parent in the passenger seat, circling empty parking lots on Sunday mornings, learning how to maneuver in a straight line down abandoned country roads, nothing but cornfields to witness this societal rite of passage, sunflowers with solemnly bowed heads understanding the immensity of the moment.

As if watching them walk off on their own into the new world of high school wasn’t tough enough, now we are introducing them to the open road, enclosed in heavy metal contraptions we hope will bring them safely to their destinations.

What kind of drivers will they be? Have we set a good example? Will they take after their father, sitting calmly in traffic, humming along with the radio, waiting patiently for the self-absorbed driver to vacate her parking spot, shaking his head disapprovingly at the erratic driver clearly focused on texting rather than watching the road ahead? Or will they take after their mother, impatient to arrive, heavy on the horn, unforgiving of inept behavior that will surely cause her untimely demise?

Will they stay off their phone? Turn down loud music? Come to complete stops? Observe the speed limits? Never pick up hitchhikers? Always wear their seat belt? Give up on the idea of driving altogether to keep their mother from hyperventilating? Just a thought … after all, these are just children, who still eat Froot Loops for breakfast, giggle in classes, decorate their rooms with SpongeBob …

Despite their tremendous desire for independence, we’re not quite there yet. We live close enough to walk just about everywhere they want to go and both of us parents work out of town, leaving no spare BMWs or Mercedeses in the driveway. (Has anyone noticed what Davis High students are driving these days? How packed the DHS parking lot is in our fair, eco-minded city?)

Yet when the day does arrive, no use pretending it will not, we will hand over those keys, smile reassuringly and keep ourselves sufficiently distracted until the slam of the car door from the driveway announces their safe return.

It is only now that I appreciate those talismans I used to receive as gifts whenever I left my native country. A favorite among teachers especially, was the laminated traveler’s prayer, a prayer for a safe journey recited by Jews. “… guide our footsteps … make us reach our desired destination for life, gladness and peace … grant us grace, kindness and mercy … rescue us from … ambush along the way…”

Yes please, to all of the above, so our children may safely steer themselves across the biggest parking lot of all.

— Karen Levy is an Israeli-American writer and the author of “My Father’s Gardens” (Homebound Publications, 2013). She teaches English at Sacramento State.

Special to The Enterprise

LEAVE A COMMENT

Discussion | 2 comments

The Davis Enterprise does not necessarily condone the comments here, nor does it review every post. Read our full policy

  • Austin KerrOctober 03, 2013 - 10:32 am

    Nice Piece! I'd like to share some advice I was once given. If you get your child a car, get a stick shift. Drivers using a manual transmission are much more connected to the road. It's also extremely difficult and less likely a driver will eat, phone, text, while attempting to drive. It's less likely they'll be able to loan the car to their friends. And cars with manual transmissions tend to be smaller which may limit the possibilities when parked. I hope there are still some stick shift cars on the road when my children turn 16.

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • jerrytoddOctober 12, 2013 - 11:13 pm

    I learned on a stick shift in the snow and ice of Chicago and the Rocky Mountains. My kids learned on a stick shift, because, like cursive writing, it is necessary for flexibility on the one hand and left-right brain maturity on the other. HOWEVER - My first accident occurred with my arm around my girlfriend while eating a sandwich and trying to shift to 2nd as I ran a stop sign into the path of another vehicle. Some things never change - except we had those wonderful bench seats!

    Reply | Report abusive comment
.

News

 
New mosaic mural reflects Peña family history

By Jeff Hudson | From Page: A1, 1 Comment | Gallery

 
UC Davis biodigester hungers for food scraps

By Elizabeth Case | From Page: A1 | Gallery

 
Penalty decision looms in Winters homicide case

By Lauren Keene | From Page: A2

Hay bales burn east of Davis

By Lauren Keene | From Page: A2

 
Woman killed by train ID’d

By Lauren Keene | From Page: A2

 
Pro-Russian insurgents hold journalist captive

By The Associated Press | From Page: A2, 1 Comment

Davis Arts Center: See ceramics, join the Big Day of Giving

By Erie Vitiello | From Page: A3 | Gallery

 
Fire damages Woodland home

By Lauren Keene | From Page: A3

Register to vote by May 19

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

 
Sign up for enviro organizations during Earth Week

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

Bible fun featured at Parents’ Night Out

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

 
Davis businesswoman presides over conference

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

Birch Lane sells garden plants, veggies

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

 
Team Blend hosts fundraiser for Nicaragua project

By Jeff Hudson | From Page: A3

Fundraiser benefits Oakley campaign

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

 
Fire crews gather for joint training

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

Odd Fellows host culinary benefit for nonprofit

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

 
400 bikes go up for bids at UCD auction

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

 
Sunder hosts campaign event for kids

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

Church hosts discussion of mental health needs, services

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

 
UCD to host premiere of autism documentary

By Cory Golden | From Page: A4

UFC hears from two local historians

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

 
UCD professor to talk about new book

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A5

Fly Fishers talk to focus on healthy streams, rivers

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A5 | Gallery

 
Train to become a weather spotter

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A5

Learn survival skills at Cache Creek Preserve

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A5

 
Veterans, internees may receive overdue diplomas

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A5

UC Davis conference showcases undergraduate research

By Julia Ann Easley | From Page: A5 | Gallery

 
Conservation District celebrates its stewardship efforts

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A7

Slow Food tour showcases area’s young farmers

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A10

 
.

Forum

Even a safe house needs boundaries

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: B5

 
I support Sunder for board

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A6

Will anyone notice?

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A6

 
My votes reflect city values

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A6, 1 Comment

Tom Meyer cartoon

By Debbie Davis | From Page: A6

 
A plea on the Bard’s birthday

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A6

 
.

Sports

DHS thunders back to win an epic DVC volleyball match

By Enterprise staff | From Page: B1

 
DHS/Franklin I goes to the Blue Devil softballers

By Chris Saur | From Page: B1 | Gallery

Davis gets to Grant ace and rolls in DVC crucial

By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: B1 | Gallery

 
Walchli is under par in another Devil victory

By Enterprise staff | From Page: B1

Seniors send Blue Devil girls past Broncos in a lacrosse rout

By Spencer Ault | From Page: B1 | Gallery

 
 
Baseball roundup: Rangers rally to beat A’s in the ninth

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

Sharks go up 3-0 with OT win

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8 | Gallery

 
.

Features

 
.

Arts

 
Five Three Oh! featured at April Performers’ Circle

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A9 | Gallery

 
Celebrate spring at I-House on Sunday

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A9

 
Music, wine flow at Fourth Friday

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A9

Biscuits ‘n Honey will play at winery

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A9

 
.

Business

.

Obituaries

Catharine ‘Kay’ Lathrop

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

 
.

Comics

Comics: Wednesday, April 23, 2014

By Creator | From Page: B6