The summer before my fourth grade year, after school shopping, my mother totalled her car rear-ending another during a thunderstorm. No one was hurt; we were all okay. I was in the front seat at the time, though, and I spent the rest of the summer and following year completely terrified of running into another car. It was awful.
So whenever my family goes somewhere in the car, I drive. I’ve joked for years that it’s better for our relationship this way, because I am a shitty passenger. It’s the truth – Jeff is a good driver. It’s just that I spend my time in the passenger seat waxing wildly between terrified (Can you slow down before you KILL US?) and angry (OMG, pass this guy, will you?).
But last year, the day after we drove home straight through to the New York border from North Carolina, I threw out my back, because my right hip tightened up from having my foot on the accelerator and brake. And with all the sitting I’ve been doing lately, this week my back has been awful; I am having a hard time standing up straight.
So it’s time for our annual Thanksgiving trip to North Carolina this weekend, and yesterday afternoon we left for leg #1 – a 6 hour trip to stop at my aunt and uncle’s in Pennsylvania. And I drove initially, but when we stopped for dinner, I admitted that my back was bothering me, and I asked Jeff to drive.
And I very nearly had a damn panic attack as he dealt with traffic on 15 in Connecticut that went from 75 mph to 30… every few miles. He had to slam on the brakes, and every time he did so I wanted to scream. It was awful, quite honestly. I watched the minutes tick by, eons between each one. I wished I could be anywhere but where I was.
It was really, really eye opening for me. For all the meditation and letting go I THINK I’ve done, I still am not in a place where I can really let go of the need to be in control, to trust that things will be what they will be. In so many ways, I’m still that scared 9 year old in the front seat of my mother’s car.
All right, then. My practice, this weekend, is letting go… and letting Jeff drive.
And keeping my mouth shut tightly. 🙂