So when she walked into the garage Wednesday with her eyes closed, ready to see her present from Mom and Dad, the time had come for imagination to stop, and reality to begin.
Needless to say, she wasn’t quite at the stage of Mario Andretti.
She did a little dance, singing “I have a car,” and then hopped in, much like she would at any other toy store. She buckled in and played with the steering wheel, until she accidentally touched the pedal and the car took off — for a foot.
“Oh, sorry,” she said.
OK, so she wasn’t even at the driving level of my wife on an icy afternoon.
To her defense, she only had our one-car garage to maneuver in, and sometimes I have a few troubles navigating through that space. Eventually she got a better handle on the car, but she wasn’t quite ready to do “donuts” in the driveway. A few more lessons with me, and she should be at that level.
Soon, she’ll be driving around the driveway with her friends in the passenger seat, but they must be little, according to her, meaning that her “dorky” parents are relegated to the sidelines. She also believes her car will give her a better opportunity to bring people over for dinner, since she will now have transportation to complete her requests for having friends eat at our home.
I can only imagine what will happen when she’s 16.
I hate to sound cliche, but it seems like yesterday that she was crawling on the ground, moving her toy car with her hand, while making car noises with her mouth. Now she’s on to the real thing...at least in a miniature version.
As soon as the rain stops, the world will be much more open to my daughter, at least from the garage to the edge of the driveway. If she sneaks away and you see a little girl in a pink car, looking for a friend to pick up for dinner, please tell her to return to her parents where the rite of passage for any new driver awaits — grounding.
Scott Levine is the Associate Editor of the Clinton Herald. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.