Our eldest was born in a hospital and he had a several day stay in the NICU due to an congenital heart defect, diagnosed prior to birth. I remember very vividly, even over 18 years later, how we felt when we got into the car to drive the 1.5 hours home with our newborn. After fighting to get Parker released, having to jump through hoops, strangers telling us how we were allowed to interact with our child...we finally had him to ourselves...we were terrified! Everything in the hospital was setup to protect the child, but makes the parents feel less than competent to care for this fragile life.
I was reminded of that feeling yesterday when Parker finally got his drivers license. He was never in a big hurry to drive. He understood from a young age the huge responsibility driving a motorized vehicle. We were all in a car accident when Parker was 8. Thankfully, no one was seriously hurt, but it affected each of us more than we realized at the time. I'm sure the accident also had something to do with his lack of enthusiasm for learning to drive. We were car-light or car-free for a good portion of his life and he knew how to bike and use mass transportation where he needed to go. My sister's husband is in his 60's and he never learned to drive. I think for a while Parker would have been happy following in his uncle's footsteps. Parker is also extremely frugal and the price of car insurance, etc. was also a factor. While he was ready to get his license yesterday, there were the hoops and the paperwork and the tests that can make one feel incompetent. Then bam they hand you this piece of paper and send you out into the world.
Life is a series of "you aren't ready, you aren't ready...go fly" moments. I'm so glad I was there for so many of them with Parker, but I also look forward to him sharing them with me from far away.