Carter Adulting

I keep hearing about children’s failure to launch. In some cultures it is worse than others. Like Italian men who refuse to marry because nothing beats their mothers. Yes, we all want our children to like us, but only so much. Eventually they need to fly the nest and succeed on their own.

Carter is only home a couple more weeks before she goes off to London for a summer program and some Scandinavian travel she has been working hard to pay for. She knows her time with parental attention is short so today she cornered the two of us to teach her some adult things she has been wanting to know. This is nothing new, she is constantly asking me financial questions and other things adults need to be responsible for.

The first thing Carter wanted to learn today was how to drive a stick shift car. I truly believe it is an important life skill. You never know when you are going to be stuck in an Eastern European country and need to rent a car and the only thing available are manual.

Russ described the theory of driving a stick and then I pulled the Morris Minor out of the garage to take her on the road and give her the practical. The only problem is that our only manual car is British, 52 years old and you have to shift with the wrong hand.

With Carter in the passenger seat we drove all around Hope Valley with me explaining how you feather the clutch out as you gently push the gas in. It is not easy on a modern car with a good clutch, but on a Morris it is even harder. We pulled into the St. Stephen’s parking lot and switched places. She tried to start the car three times and the third time she let her foot off the clutch and the car jerked forward slightly. I thought she was laughing about it, but she was crying.

We switch seats again. So we drove around some more, this time with her hand on the gear shift with mine on top and she got the hang of shifting. Tomorrow we will try driving again.

When we got home she wanted to learn how to use the weed wacker. So Russ got her safety goggles and taught her. She was quickly successful at that adult task and cleaned up the side gardens.

The third thing she wanted to learn was how to make a tomato pie. This was something she already had all the skills for, but she had never put them together in one pie. So we made homemade crust and she made two beautiful pies. I wonder what other life skills Carter is going to want to master in the next two weeks? How about cleaning out the attic?

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