My trip has been amazing. I can’t wait to share all the great places and things that we have seen and done when I return.
You will love this story by my guest blogger, Bethany Lee. Meeting Bethany was a happy accident. I found her website through LinkedIn. It’s funny how these things happens. When I read her blog it spoke to me, I immediately subscribed and have never looked back. We have become very good friends through the Blogosphere and enjoy the many things we have in common.
So let me not delay, here is her story:
Parking Lessons At 16
“When I was 16, I took my driver’s test and failed. I had done all the hours of car training that I was supposed to do, I had worked with my driving instructor to learn how to parallel park and I had studied for the written exam. But, I had not perfected my parallel parking. Back then we called it the “maneuverability” portion of the exam—it wasn’t exactly parallel parking. We were simply made to go in and out of cones positioned in such a way that it would have imitated a parallel park. My instructor had four students in the car to teach, so I am not sure I got the training that I needed for this.
I came home from the test very disappointed. I so wanted my license! What 16 year old wouldn’t be disappointed?
My dad came home from work and learned about my great misfortune. Up until that point, I believe he had expected the instructor to teach me maneuverability. In fact, this was the method that was used for my two older brothers and sister, no problem. But when he heard what had happened he immediately took charge. My next test was scheduled shortly after my first fail, so dad took me out to our driveway that Saturday. He arranged some faux-cones to imitate the test, which I believe were just logs from our log pile. And we got to work.
Luckily a year or two earlier, Dad had traded in the old stationwagon that was built for a family of six. Dad had let me pick out the car, or so he let me believe, and so I got to practice maneuverability in the much smaller and easier-to-handle, Ford Taurus. Dad started by sitting next to me in the car, wincing every so often when I would come close to hitting the logs. Dad was always a wincer, and still is, and I have yet to not get startled when he suddenly braces himself, scrunches up his face and hollers some nonsense noise. It was no different then.
“Ahhh!” he’d cry as I got close to the log. I would jump and slam on the brake, not sure what his cry was for. “What’s wrong?” I’d ask, looking over at him, my shoulders tensed up just as much as his.
“That’s ok. That’s ok. I just thought you were going to hit that log.” He motioned with his hand for me to keep pulling forward. And I did. This happened several times. Ok, it happened about 50 times, and then Dad got out of the car and said it was time for me to try it on my own without his coaching.
Dad stood at the top of the maneuverability setup and motioned for me to move forward. And I did. When I got to the top of the maneuverability setup, I stopped and looked at him.
“Good! That was good, now back out.”
I carefully backed my way out, only pausing a couple of times and reached the start position again. I was excited! The tutoring session was starting to drain me and I was ready to be done.
“That’s good, huh Dad? Can we stop now?”
“Come on, do it again. You have to do it without pausing anywhere.”
So I started up again. And again. And again. My back and bottom half were getting very tired.
“Can we stop now?” I asked Dad again after performing the routine about another 25 times.
“Just a little bit more. I want you to be able to do this with your eyes closed.”
Well, I’ll tell you, by the time we finished practicing, I not only thought I could do it with my eyes closed, but with my hands tied behind my back. I was tired and sore by the time we finished up. It seemed we had been practicing for hours and I never wanted to parallel park in my life. But something had happened in that training session of which I wasn’t yet aware.
The following Thursday, I went to get my driver’s license. I only had to take the maneuverability portion of the test over since that was the only part I had failed the first time. And I executed it perfectly. I looked over to the tester, and asked, “did I pass?” Although I had done it perfectly, I still had that little morsel of doubt.
The tester looked back, “of course. That was perfect.”
When I look back on that day that Dad drilled me and drilled me with parking, I remember how tired I was then. But more importantly, I remember what Dad taught me that day. First, if you need to learn something new that you are going to need to use in life, you learn it. But then you go over it and over it again until it becomes second nature to you. While Dad was teaching me to maneuver my car, he was also teaching me persistance, as well as a Father’s desire to see his child succeed at something she wanted.
To this day, parallel parking has never been a problem. The manuevering is seemingly ingrained in my mind. I sometimes watch while someone will attempt to parallel park, and then give up the spot because they can’t make it. That leaves the space open for me. And I pull in, without pausing, and I think, “thanks Dad. You just got me another parking space.”
How cool was that. Can you remember when you were learning to drive? Tell us about it. We would love to hear your story.
Life’s journey continues…