My son has booked an appointment to sit his restricted driver’s license in about four weeks. While I’m glad he has done this, it does mean the end of a particular era in our relationship. No more chauffeuring him to sports, music, parties and school events — and no more driving lessons. We won’t be spending lots of time in the car together, and I’m wondering if it will bring to an end the long, varied and highly enjoyable conversations we’ve always had while driving.
He mastered the basics of driving pretty quickly and so lately we have been focusing on longer trips where he has had to concentrate in heavy traffic conditions for longer periods of time. Last week we headed out of Auckland for lunch and a walk at Wenderholm Regional Park. It was a perfect day; clear, warm and still.
Wenderholm was the first of Auckland’s Regional Parks, and is sited on the estuary of the Puhoi River. The area’s status as a regional park has meant that the surrounding forest has been well-preserved and contains a large number of scenic walking tracks. As neither of us was really dressed for bush-walking, we contented ourselves with a stroll along the sandy river’s edge.
I am of the view that my job as a parent is to facilitate my son going out into the world and not only surviving, but thriving, as a good human being. Growing away from me is part of the deal. I just hope he always wants to come back for a chat, and a walk in the sunshine.