Tag Archives: teens

Driving Miss Daisy

Hot Springs, VA – When my now 15-and-a-half-year old was three she dressed as a pink-pussy cat for Halloween. Her name was Daisy the Cat.

For several years thereafter, every now and then, the blond curly headed little girl would take on her alter ego, lick my hands and crawl around on all fours, purring. She’s come a long way from the days when she wore pink cat ears, pink leggings and a fuzzy pink boa tail.

She shed the cat costume some time ago. She no longer licks my fingers/paws nor does she meow yet her prowess is forever increasing. Today, she’s behind the wheel of a car driving with her grandfather, affectionately known as PopPops.

Until now, Daisy has had the privilege of driving her grandparents’ golf carts at their winter home in Florida.golf cart
Yesterday, PopPops, invited Miss Daisy to take the wheel of his 23 year-old silver Volvo, as he rode shutgun. Following his lead, they’d drive down a Virginia country lane or two for some instruction.
silver volvo

They weren’t gone for long, maybe ten to twelve minutes. I was surprised to see them return so quickly. It’s not that I was anxious, not at all. I was excited for the girl’s growing independence and the special moment she’d shared with her grandfather.

When they pulled into the driveway, Daisy’s grandmother, Grandmamma, and I met the duo in the garage. The driver beamed as she exited the shiny car, having pulled it into the narrow space on her own. Her ear-to-ear smile and bright blue eyes said more than any words could. Her sense of accomplishment and excitement was contagious. PopPops smiled proudly too.

He told us that he’d directed Daisy to drive down the quiet road. Under the impression that the other summer residents were all away, he had her turn into a driveway. Much to their surprise, another car was moving toward them. Calmly, Miss Daisy backed up and out of the oncoming car’s way. She reached the roundabout and PopPops told her to back around in reverse twice, rather than drive forward.

Learning how to drive is something, I think, a person never forgets.

I don’t mean the “how to” part of driving but the “how it happened.”
PopPops remembers when he was 15 years old in Iowa, he learned to drive on a black Plymouth. plymouth Grandmama, who learned from her older brother, started driving when she was 14 in Nashville, TN. She learned to drive a Chevrolet. I remember turning 15 and learning to drive my mom’s dark blue Volvo. (couldn’t find an accurate image but the shape to follow is true to form).
blue volvo

That car was just a decade older than the silver car that Daisy’s been learning to drive. The passage of time is a weird thing.

Sunday morning while the Grands were at church, Daisy and I headed out for a Sunday drive in the country. We reached an empty paved parking lot and the pussycat took the wheel.

Frontwards and backwards she drove. Depressing the accelerator VA-ROOM, I felt the car jump forward, faster and more rapidly than appropriate. I remained calm. She got the hang of which way to turn the steering wheel while driving in reverse. Like almost everything this kid does, she took it all very seriously.

After a few minutes of back and forth, we switched places and headed
back to the Grands’ country road.

“Do I have to drive with PopPops this afternoon?” she whined. “You said we could go to the pool.”

I thought briefly about what she asked. Was it that she didn’t want
to drive? That she was nervous? That she wanted to go to the pool?

I didn’t care. I thought some more.

“Daisy,” I said, “PopPops is going to die. I don’t know when.” I paused.

This is a chance for you,” I continued. “Not only to learn how to
drive but really, it’s a chance to do something with him that you
will always remember.

You create memories. And they will always be with you. People
die but your memories of them stay with you.

I winced at the wisdom I was imparting. Was she listening? Was she cringing? Was she rolling her eyes? There was silence on both of our parts. I contemplated filling the thick air with more words but let the time pass. Silence.

I turned onto our country road, stopped the car on the flat at the bottom of our hill and turned the driving over to my passenger.

She drove us home, parked in the driveway.

Twenty minutes later, the Grands returned from church.

“Daisy,” said PopPops, “are you ready to go for a drive?”
I hesitated yet took a deep breath.

“I guess so,” said Daisy.

And the two of them were off.

Creating memories.

That’s Lice

Last Wednesday’s visit to the salon was the bomb.

Fortunately for me, and for an anxious 14-year old just back from camp in Canada, LA based Hair Fairies has a New York outlet and they were able to schedule an appointment within an hour of my call for help. Another enterprise, one that makes regular visits to the teen’s school for head checks, wasn’t able to confirm an appointment time when I called just before 9 a.m. or again at 10. So, a googling I went to find the competition.  And whew, Hair Fairies rose to the top.

Here’s the thing: I was aware that there are professionals who can check and offset the lice problem. makes me itch just thinking about it And while people do, it’s not necessary to throw out all of your furniture, stuffed animals, toys and have every lick of clothing sent to the cleaners. You may, but there are cleaning techniques and even companies that will do the cleaning/delousing for you. The bugs can only live off the head for 24 to 48 hours. And they don’t fly but are transmitted through direct contact. Remain calm. Within an hour of my request, we dashed “calmly” to the salon in the west 30s.

My fairy princess sat in her barber shop throne while the dedicated technician, clad in royal blue scrubs, a navy blue bandana around her head and gold earrings with Timothy written in script from one end of the hoop to the other, manually checked her hair and scalp. She separated the hair, fine tooth combing section by section first dry, then wet, from top to bottom, under and over, in search of head lice. At each interval, dry, wet and a third looksee with nit zapping cream, V-Marie stated her findings or lack thereof.  “Didn’t find anything yet,” she said.

Meanwhile, I checked out the salon scene. Long locked Hannah Montana played on a flat screen across the room, colorful kids playthings neatly arranged throughout included a kitchen corner, drawing table, game boy DS, a noticeable lack of fabric and teeny curly headed fairies hung down from the tops of each of the four window frames overlooking Avenue of the Americas.

And then, “Nothing,” said V-Marie with a smile. She completed the wet stage of her comb-through examination of the near waist-length Botticelli like curls of my growing girl.

As to why head lice seem to have gone mainstream, ie fancy sleep away camps, private schools, kids, teens and adults, it’s anyone’s guess. Perhaps they’ve developed a resistance to the pesticides that people use to rid themselves of the white bugs and eggs. No matter, they exist and deal with the prospect we did.

The morning after we arrived home, the early-to-rise camper cum glamour girl crawled into my bed, leaned her head against the fabric headboard and proceeded to watch a video on her laptop. I did my best to refrain from cringing over the prospect of little white bugs crawling from her head to my bed. I was touched, frankly, by her wanting to be with me after weeks apart. Besides, the worst thing I could do, I think, would be to show my anxiety and turn her away. If the bugs were in our house, they were in our house, my bed or not.  Freaking out about the unknown wouldn’t serve me or my daughter.

Caring for her, about her, is as simple as saying it’s my job. I would do anything for my children.  No matter what. The way a mom stands by her wretching child, holding her hair, gently stroking her back as she heaves into the toilet. Gross, yes, but of no import. What matters is trying to offer some sense of humility in an otherwise unpleasant time.

Yet somehow, with the bugs, though I did a preliminary looksee, it was to little avail. I didn’t really know what I was looking for nor was I forced to delouse her head or our home. Fortunately for this household, no bugs, no nits.  A giant sigh of relief. And next time, I’ll know who to call.