“Ok, Mom. Now where?” I asked, knowing she wouldn’t have a clue. We were going to my sister’s bridal shower at a restaurant somewhere around here. I was in the driver’s seat; my mom was beside me navigating. I could see she had turned the map upside down while trying to make sense of the directions that came with the invitation. We were stopped on a deserted dead-end pass, in the pouring rain, with the small local airport on one side and the highway ramp on the other.
“Where are we now?” my mom quizzed, obviously flustered. She has never driven anywhere, or anything – not a bike, not a car, not her life. She has been always a passenger, content to be driven, and even happier to let someone else lead the way. “Maybe you took a wrong turn.”
“We’re where you led us. I followed your directions,” I answered. “And, there’s no restaurant here.” My younger sister, leaning forward from the back seat, busted out laughing, sparking the giggles in all us. We all knew – my mom included – never to give mom navigation authority. You’ll always end up somewhere other than where you were supposed be.
“I just don’t know. I don’t know where we are now and I don’t know how read this map. And, the directions are wrong. We shouldn’t be at the airport. I remember the restaurant was somewhere off the main road,” my mom said. I was pretty sure that she had not been reading the directions or the map at all, but rather leading from memory, an even more agonizing adventure.
“Well, mom, here we are, no where, and you’re the navigator. That means you get to navigate us out of here. Whatever way you choose. We can back-track from where we came, we can go left or we can circle back on the highway,” I replied. It dawned on me that this could be a useful lesson for my mom, who was newly divorced, setting up new apartment and moving her life in a different direction. “Mom, so what. We’re a bit lost. It’s no big deal. We all get lost sometimes, but we’ll there eventually, either by taking a shortcut or, my preferred option, the scenic route. You just have to choose: do we go left, right or straight. Whatever you choose is the right way. And, you’re way is as good as mine.”
“Um, ok, go left,” my mom, quavered.
“You sure?” I said, not intending to create doubt.
“No, uh, ok, maybe you should go straight instead. Yeah, go straight, that looks right,” my mom said, this time more confident.