On Sunday morning as the girls and I were leaving the house to go to religious ed classes, I drew a deep breath and tossed Meelyn the car keys as we crossed the driveway.
"I thought maybe you'd want to drive and get some practice on the interstate," I said casually, trying to ignore the feeling that I'd been kicked in the stomach by a mule.
Mee's face lit up with a huge smile. "Really?" she said in delight, catching the keys in mid-flight. "Seriously?"
"Yep," I said, smiling back and inwardly doubting my sanity. "Sure! Why not?" I squashed down the compelling answer that kept presenting itself, marquee-style, across the front of my brain: "Because I know we all have to die someday, but given a choice, today is not the day I'd choose."
We got in the van and Meelyn put on her seatbelt before she put on her sunglasses, which I thought was a positive sign. Then she expertly backed up, turned the van around and pulled out of the driveway onto our street as if she'd been doing it for years instead of a matter of mere months.
Off we went, and when we arrived at the interstate on ramp, I'd had a few moments to say a few prayers (most of which started with the word "help.") Meelyn smoothly whizzed down the lane and merged onto the interstate with a certain aplomb that I myself am sometimes lacking as I shout, "Move over, you idiot! There's room enough on this road for both of us!"
I'm happy to report that she did a fabulous job. There's no escaping that first time you drive at a high rate of speed on a road with other people driving at a high rate of speed with your teenager behind the wheel and the contemplation of that thought can turn your hair turn white overnight. Fact!
But in my case, it didn't happen. Meelyn did a great job on the interstate, driving both to the church and back with cheerful competence.