I got my first learner’s permit when I was fifteen, and I was terrified, which was unusual for the girl who would careen down an uneven driveway on rollerblades or hop around in the snow on a broken foot, but I was.  I had never been good at race video games, and my ability to ride dirt bikes and motorcycles provided no comfort.  I had nightmares.

I was terrified, but I tried to get over it.  Then I over-corrected and hit a pole, and my confidence vanished.  My father tried but I was jumpy.  My grandparents tried, enrolling me in private lessons, and though I knew how I lacked assurance.  I took the test once, and I failed it, before the State of California decided my diabetes was too “out of control” to safely operate a motor vehicle and revoked my driving privileges outright.  It was a tough blow, but a part of me was slightly relieved.

I moved to Pennsylvania and lived in the city with no need to even think about my license.  I learned to use public transportation in several different cities, and made myself proficient at getting around almost anywhere.  It was a pain, it really was, but I justified it to myself pretending it was easier than having a car in the city.

Eventually I moved out of the city, and I began to consider driving again.  I prepared myself for months, but a week before I had planned to take the written test the driver of a car I was in ran a red light and t-boned a minivan.  The mild concussion and bleeding kidneys that landed me in the hospital for days and out of work for weeks were nothing compared to the damage done to my confidence.  I could hardly handle being in a car let alone the thought of driving one.  I had panic attacks almost constantly, and the nightmares returned at once.

It was right after this event that I met Hubby, and if nothing else he was immersion therapy.  The first day he met me at home we talked until I missed my bus, so the only choice was to have him whisk me to work, and whisk he did.  I don’t remember kissing the ground as I climbed out of his car, but I may have.  From there it’s been years of this kind of therapy on his part.  Don’t get me wrong, my husband can drive anything with wheels and some without, but that knowledge is little comfort to someone with my level of trepidation.

Last year I was finally ready.  After years of the longest public transportation hike I could ever imagine I was ready to take the next step.  The only thing that stood in my way was California. We went through countless phone calls and forms, and for almost a year I fought for the fact that I am functioning just fine as a diabetic and not a danger to society.  The day they found out I live 3,000 miles away they sent me the papers saying I was cleared.

The day I got my permit it was pouring and dark, perfect day to ignore a fear, right?  Hubby had me drive him in what I’m sure was a Pennsylvania monsoon, and I did better than I expected I ever could.  Since then he’s had me driving him around like a personal chauffeur, and while I am still nervous in some spots I can feel my confidence growing daily.  I am actually excited sometimes about driving, something I never thought possible.  Hubby has been an excellent instructor, something else I never though possible, and I cannot thank him enough for the patience and support his has shown through this process.  Now if only I could learn to parallel park.