Thursday, October 5, 2017
Will he be the driven one, or the driver?
Dave got a loaner pickup truck the other day while Toyota serviced our minivan, and Max was gleeful about taking a ride. He loves cars of all kinds, which sometimes has me wondering about whether he will be able to drive when he grows up.
I don't often ponder Max's adult life. There are the big questions about independent living and work that I know better to worry about, because I realize that he and his life will play out as they will, with Dave and me doing whatever is within our powers to help and Max making his own choices. But the driving is something that I frequently ponder, a skill that encapsulates a lot about Max's future.
Max goes back and forth on this. Sometimes, he says that no, he doesn't plan on driving. Some days he tells me that yes, he would like to. I've shown him videos of adults with cerebral palsy driving. Who knows what adaptations may emerge down the road. But even if it is physically feasible for him to drive, will it be within his cognitive realm?
Ah, that perilous habit of peering into the crystal ball of your child's future. Really, it does nobody any good. But I can't help it.
Of course, there is such a thing as Uber, or whatever variations of that will be around in years to come. Max will be eligible for free public transportation for people with disabilities. Also, self-driving cars might be a reality by the time he is in his twenties.
Plenty of people never learn to drive, like my mom. She's gotten along just fine in life, I tell myself. But then, my mom chose not to drive. Max may want to.
I grew up learning how to drive in New York City, and I'm pretty intrepid about it. I still enjoy the freedom it gives me, after all these years. I enjoy the possibilities that open up when you get behind the wheel (carpool excluded). I would like for Max to enjoy the same, but if he can't, there will be other experiences to take their place.
Rationally, I know all this.
But then, when we talk about Max driving, I wonder and wonder. There is no logic when it comes to pondering what the future holds for your child.
"Next car!" Max said, pointing to the pickup after we were back home. As in, next time we're in the market for a car, he'd like us to buy a pickup truck. (Along with a fire engine, ideally.)
I smiled at him.
"Would you like to drive a truck?" I asked.
Max pondered that.
"I don't know," he said.