If you look up the meaning of “rite of passage” as I recently did, it will tell you that a rite of passage is a ritual event that marks the progression of a person from one status to another in their life.
Further it’s explained that rites of passage are often ceremonies surrounding events such as milestones in puberty, coming of age, marriage and death as well as religious initiation ceremonies like Baptisms and Bar & Bat Mitzvah’s.
In our house we celebrate these “rites of passage” every opportunity we get. My daughter converted to Judaism and recently in a small ceremony my granddaughter Charlotte was given her Hebrew name “Havah”, meaning “Eve – birth, giver of all life, breath”. That being said what’s not to celebrate? This child is the wonderful gift of life, my very breath, as I have learned to breathe and let go of my troubles when I see her and hold her in my arms. We celebrated her first rite of passage after the service with a small luncheon that included family and friends. As it should be…
This week my fifteen year old son Ian completed the second part of the Driver’s Education program at school most certainly a rite of passage. As I dropped him off for his first session behind the wheel and wished him (AND the instructor) ”God Speed” I am reminded of my own coming of age driving experience.
Back in the early 80’s, I turned 15 years old. At that time we could go for a driving permit without taking Driver’s Ed. I had barely opened the D.O.T. driving manual when my brother Neal asked me if I wanted him to take me to get my permit. “It’s easy!” he promised.
I was nervous that I hadn’t really studied and I might not pass but went anyway. When I walked out with permit in hand I was shocked….seriously? THAT was all I needed to do to get behind the wheel and practice??? SCAREY!
During the next year I not only learned to drive but learned to drive a stick shift. I still remember the experience like it was yesterday. My sister Ceil taught me in the parking lot of the apartment complex where she was living.
Her car was a Pinto. Remember? They were the ones that had bumpers made of flint? They were recalled due to fires caused by rear impact! Lucky me, heh?
I recall being stuck on a hill at a stop sign once and the fine fellow behind me honked and honked at me even as I waved him around me faking a breakdown. Finally after several minutes of his rude obnoxious yelling and beeping I had had enough so I slammed the car into neutral pulled up the emergency brake and flipped open my door. I marched back to his window (that he quickly rolled up) and offered to lay on the horn, yell, scream and curse while HE got my car off the incline. I never understood why he didn’t take me up on the offer…
A few weeks and lots of rodeo’s in the bucking Pinto later I became a master of the manual transmission. Another page in my life had been turned.
I gazed at the side of my son’s face as we drove into the school parking lot remembering the small chubby cherub that was now a full sized human being, taller than me and capable of obtaining his driver’s permit. Where had time gone? My heart swelled with pride as I looked at this young man knowing this would be yet another area he would succeed in his life. He is one of the most talented people I know. Creative, smart and hillariously funny and quick witted. Best part is, he has no idea how he makes every day worth living because he is in my life. He assures me that car care is no problem for him and I should not worry as he knows how to “change the flux capacitor”. Without a doubt he will master a manual transmission much faster than I did.
A tremendous sense of fear came over me knowing this rite of passage could lead him away from home as he will want to go everywhere when he gets the hang of this driving thing. I was now handing off one piece of control in keeping him safe. From this point forward he will be responsible for making his own decisions behind the wheel, many of which will be split second and at the mercy of other people’s choices good or bad.
I sat at the end of the parking lot where he could not see me and asked the big guy above to watch over him and give him the grace to always use the common sense and logic he was gifted with to keep him safe.
The last day of Driver’s Ed I got a text from him that read “Guess who passed Drivers Ed :D”. This time instead of fear I felt happiness wash over me as he felt the success of his accomplishment. I could almost see the smile on his face, certainly a reason to celebrate this rite of passage…
These warm images quickly dissipated and were replaced with a vision of my insurance agents’ smiling face as I hand her a large check….Perhaps when we celebrate this important rite of passage tonight we will do so with a few cocktails as well… 😉
Remember to take the time to celebrate these small journey’s from one point to another before they leave the nest without looking in the rear view mirror.
We celebrated with one of Ian’s favorite meals…Taco’s! Never missing the chance to make it special I pulled out my new plates and bowl’s from my favorite addiction…HomeGood’s. We had lot’s of fun squeezing fresh orange juice and picking fresh mint from the garden to make iced tea.
Every small event in life is worth making special and celebrating. I hope you’ll consider making a big deal out of your family’s next little accomplishment. You won’t regret it…
Making the Tea is easy…If you use Lipton Cool Brew Bags it’s on the side of the box!
I also want to give a shout out to my local followers about the Savory Spice Shop at Lafayette Village on Falls of the Neuse Road. You have to go to understand…wonderful people own it and the experience is worth the trip. To my not so local followers Savory Spice Shop ships up the East coast. Nothing like fresh spices!
Ian thoroughly enjoyed his celebration dinner. Love this guy! Wonder what he will ask me to make when he actually gets his license.
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Let’s see how many people we can get to spend more time with family and friends.