It starts raining and J’s car is smart so the windshield wipers come on automatically. Even though the car’s not running, save the radio. Even though I’m sitting here in the parking lot of Planet Organic, I’m not sure why, I have no intention of going in. I never sat in grocery store parking lots eating granola bars and thinking my life is amazing for this peaceful moment until I became a mother. Now I seem to do it a lot.
This car. It knows I’m still here, steeling away. Senses my weight on the seat, the key in my pocket.
I’ve been in freedom mode, giddy and playing the music too loud and driving like a boss. Because baby F is with her granny.
I wonder: will baby F drive a car one day? Or will it drive itself?
I remember a time my dad took me to practice driving. I must have been sixteen. I was making a lefthand turn and failed to stay in the lines. Luckily it was a quiet suburban street and there was no opposite traffic for me to crash into. But I felt like an idiot, like if there had been a car coming the other way, we would have collided. I was upset.
My dad told me to relax. He said if there had been a car there, i would have taken the turn differently. No need to catastrophize a hypothetical alternative. One wonky turn wasn’t a fortune cookie for every other future turn.
I hope people are still driving cars when it’s time for baby F to learn. So many valuable lessons to learn behind the wheel.
This must-watch documentary talks about how babies and very small children need to develop self esteem so they can handle the failure inherent on the path to learning. Apparently there’s scientific justification for the wild encouragement I bestow on baby F when she smiles / coos / kicks / rolls over /etc. Which is nice.
Failures – losses – they help us learn. They show us when we’re off track. They give us tools to course-correct. Even Oprah says so.
These perceived failures, they don’t need fanfare, just acknowledgement. Not to be exaggerated or downplayed. Just to be recognized for what they can teach us. Our job is to listen, to pay attention, to grow and evolve.
The rain continues. Nourishing gardens in this, Toronto’s hottest and driest summer in ten years. I start the car and drive home. Clean windshield, clear mind.