NOT the Groundhog’s Day!

Posted: April 25, 2015 in Humour
Tags: , ,

mackiehogLife. It can be funny, tragic, invigorating. Eye-opening, scintillating, sad, happy…..the list goes on. Or, in this case, in one event, it can be all of these combined. Here I present to you a story not for the faint-of- heart. It is a story that countless parent have had to experience, and one which countless more will have to one day go through themselves.

Today, my youngest son Mackie drove me to North Bay and back, a city 37 km from our small town. It was his first time driving on a highway. The first of many, I am sure. And as we all know, the first time for anything we do can be daunting and nerve-wracking. This journey was no less. It was one filled with many moments of pride, empowerment, joy, nervous outbursts, subtle swearing, murder, and redemption.

Perhaps ‘murder’ is a little harsh, but I will let you be the judge.

A week ago, Mackie told me that his driving instructor was encouraging him to take charge and do more highway driving. Well, of course, when he told me this, my whole life flashed before my eyes. More specifically, my life since we received the bundle of joy which was Mackie in 1998 flashed before my eyes. I saw a little Buddha-like baby emerge from his mother. His first cries. The first time we dropped him. His first tooth. The next time we dropped him. All his little successes, his failures, his triumphs. When he finally got hair. When he used his last diaper. High school. All the moments that stand out in my mind. And last summer, when he wrote and passed his driver’s test.

That last moment was actually horrifying to me and Anne. How could our little Buddha have gotten old enough to do this to us? Did we do something bad to the universe? I mean, we brush and floss (actually that’s mostly Anne). We look both ways when we cross the street (this last comment is vital to the story). We pay our taxes. E do all the stuff that is more or less asked of us….and yet, here we are. Our youngest son now drives.

Of course, there has been much learning time between the test and now. Mostly with myself in the passenger seat. Anne has a tough time with this whole thing, and appears to have opted to take a lesser role in this until he has more experience. ‘When he has his own 16-year old!’ is what I heard from her. I may be exaggerating a tad there, but it sounds like something I might have heard. So he has honed his craft to the point where a highway trip has become imperative in this journey to license-hood. And I, as usual, am the Guinea pig.

In a nutshell, the trip was for the most part uneventful. A few tweaks here, some comments there, some adjustments and advice. But he did very well. I was very proud of him. In fact, I can honestly say he did much better than I would have done for my first try. There was however a moment which he and I and his brother Alex, sitting in the back seat as a judge, will forever remember as THE moment to remember from his first highway trip.

Coming back from North Bay, on the outskirts of the city where there is so much nature and occasional wildlife, Mackie muttered the words I will always remember: ‘Oh, no.’ in a deadpan voice. ‘No, no, no!’, more vociferously. He slowed the car down a touch, but to his credit, all the training he has taken paid off. He didn’t veer into oncoming traffic. Ahead of us, hesitantly at first, then deciding to go for it, a huge Ground Hog lurched ahead and tried to cross the road.

It was a fatal decision.

Thump-thump. First the front and then the back wheel bore witness to the Hog’s demise. And Mackie, on his first highway trip, had his first kill. I think I went 10 years before my first time. And in true Gingras style we needled him. ‘I think he was trying to cross over to see his kids!’ I exclaimed. ‘Maybe it was a mommy carrying 20 babies in her belly!’ exclaimed Alex from the back. I’m pretty sure I saw tears in Mackie’s eyes.

I know it could have been much worse. I really am proud he kept his wits about him and didn’t kill us all. And now I will be sending Mackie an email from the Ground Hog’s mother asking him ‘Why?’

It’s how we roll

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