I did very little driving during the weeks following my 1st attempt to pass my road test in Texas. At first, I felt that the Hubby Coach was penalizing me for not passing the test. I didn’t know where those thoughts and feelings came from because that behavior was not my husband’s character. I know he internalized the situation himself because he had been one of the ones taking me out driving. He had stated to me he felt he had crippled me in some way by not going over parking with me more before the test. I felt terrible because I had not communicated my challenges to him well.
When I went out with my local driving instructor, I had problems with parking. Before the test, I only practiced parallel parking once. About a month after relocating, I found a driving school in my area and had a couple of 2-hour lessons with an instructor to test myself behind the wheel. These lessons were supplemented with ones I had with the Hubby Coach and one of our uncle-in-law, a truck driver. He would take me out to run Sunday errands whenever we visited him and our Aunt’s home. With him, I could drive multiple vehicle types, from a pickup to an SUV to a sedan. He was the first family member I called after failing the test, and he so sweetly calmed me down. And told me, “Lela Girl, it’s ok, we will go over your parallel parking; you will pass this test!”
When I learned how to parallel park back home in New York, all my instructors used real cars as props. However, because parallel parking is not a commonly done maneuver here (everything is spaced out), cones, poles, and other props represent the parked cars.
See, I read the driver’s manual. I am a combination of visual and application learner. Once something is shown to me, I program it in, and then I have to do it myself for it to be locked in my memory banks. So, when my Texas driving instructor attempted to tell me how to parallel park with poles, I looked at her like a deer in headlights. At one point, she got frustrated, and from all accounts, I believe she was a very patient woman. I wasn’t getting it. I had expressed this to the Hubby Coach. However, since I did not belabor it, he didn’t think it was anything significant that we needed to go over.
Later, when I went over parking with our Uncle, he had me practice in his pickup so that I would get a better feel of how to use side mirrors to judge my positioning. He also allowed me to drive independently (my first time) in the truck depot where he housed his truck. There were these big 18-wheeler cabins everywhere as I did my turns around the depot. They were parked but still represented some of the vehicles I would see on the highways as I drove one day by myself. In a way, he helped me visualize myself driving alone. This little exercise built up my confidence. I will forever be grateful to him for that.
I never told Oji my feelings about why I thought he was not taking me back out to drive after that first attempt. I turned the situation over to God, who told me to be patient and continue showing that I was willing to drive. My confidence was shaken. It could have had significant repercussions if I had voiced anything I was thinking. I needed time to get my mind right.
The weekend immediately after the test, coincidentally, the husband and I went on our second in-state road trip for the summer; our destination was College Station and the campus of Texas A&M. The hubby was scheduled to coach at his first sports camp sponsored by the Fellowship of Christian Athletes (FCA). We would be there for an entire week, encompassing the July 4th holiday. Unlike other sports camps he had worked at, this one also encouraged family members to attend.
Initially, if I had passed my road test, I would have driven a portion of the trip. However, my husband knew I was not mentally ready to take the wheel. I was still nursing my bruised emotions. The working vacation, though, was a turning point for me. When we arrived at our lodgings (a two-story townhouse) that we would ultimately share with another couple, we learned that we had no internet access. We both had neglected to pack our Ethernet cables, and there was no WiFi outside the clubhouse in the center of the off-campus apartment complex, where all the camp’s staff members and their families were housed. It was decided that instead of going and buying another one when we knew we had at least three at home, we opted to go internet-free for the week.
This improv detoxification of the internet allowed us to talk and bond as a married couple. We had just celebrated our first wedding anniversary less than a month earlier, and getting this quiet time alone was a blessing in disguise from God to us. At the core of our relationship has always been our ability to keep the channels of communication open. Most of our courtships were done long distance. Since my husband prefers old-school methods of communication vs. using Skype and other video calling services, it was essential for both of us to have unlimited minute talk plans.
I had also brought with me a small collection of books that I hoped to dig into. I had just finished reading Joyce Meyer’s fifth book, “New Attitude Box Set,” and was preparing to read another title by her called “Be Anxious for Nothing: The Art of Casting Your Cares and Resting in God.” I re-read my pastor Dr. Creflo A. Dollar, Jr.’s book “SOS, My Flesh Needs Discipline” during the week leading up to my road test, so I was working on re-programming my mind and emotions to react better to challenging situations. I just wanted to crossover this personal mountain called my “road test” and move on. It had been 17 years already; enough was enough!
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