Two weeks ago, while out running errands with the boy, I struck up a conversation with him about the possibility of maybe getting his temporary license in the very near future. “Dude, I know you’re concerned about learning how to drive and your dad and I aren’t trying to rush you (though we really would like him to drive soon), so why not get your temporary license? You can take up to a year to learn how to drive and we can go slow,” I tried. “Mom, I’m just not comfortable with the idea of driving,” He said. “Not comfortable or lazy?” I asked. Smiling at me he replied, “Perhaps both”.
“Okay, but dude, honestly, we can take our time teaching you. In fact, here, let me show you where some of your lessons will take place…” I said and purposely drove past where I should have turned. “Where are we going?” He asked. “Wouldn’t you like to know,” I replied and drove a bit further until we arrived at the destination. “A cemetery?” He asked. “Yeah, this is an excellent place to learn how to drive, because you have to go slow, work on turns–both left and right and well…” “You can’t kill anyone because they’re already dead?” He said with a deadpan voice. “Well, technically you could kill the car running into the headstones, but as far as humans are concerned, basically, yes,” I said. “Huh,” He grunted in return.
We sat parked for a moment or two when I finally said, “Hey, let me show you something,” and then began to drive around the cemetery until I found the right section, pulled over and parked again. “What are we doing?” He asked. “C’mere, let me show you something,” I said getting out of the car. He joined me and a moment later we were standing before my paternal grandparents headstone.”Say hello to your great grandparents…” He stood there and absorbed the information, but didn’t say much more that that. “Look this is your Aunt Dell…she lived to be 105,” I pointed out. “Grandma, Grandpa, Aunt Dell, may I introduce your great grandson/nephew, the boy,” I said and smiled at him. He grunted again before we both said a quick Hail Mary and walked back to the car.
Pulling back onto the cemetery road, we meandered around until we came to where my dad’s sister Margie was buried. “This is your Great Aunt Margie. She died from a brain tumor when she was eleven and see John and Mary? Thos are your Great-great grandparents,” I pointed out. “What’s cool is that she had the same color hair as your sister…” I explained. “Um, how would you know that?” He began to ask when I cut him off. “Considering she was long dead before I was born?” I began, “Well, my dad has a lock of her hair somewhere,” I explained. After saying a brief prayer at the graveside, we then drove to the opposite side of the cemetery where I introduced him to my maternal grandparents. “Oh and this is my beloved Aunt Nonie…” I said before realizing there were clumps of dirt blocking out her name. Turning and walking back to the car, I pulled out my windshield scraper/brush and two half-drunk bottles of water and then worked to clean off the headstone. “You’re a good niece,” the boy remarked after we said some prayers and then turned back toward the car.
“You’re a good sport too,” I said before returning to the original conversation. “So you see, we can teach you how to drive in here and we can take our time.” Looking back at me he said, “Boy mom, you really know how to sell something…” Which made us both laugh as we turned and drove toward home.