When I first learned how to drive most of my friends were jealous because, as one of the eldest amongst us, I was able to get my permit and then my license first.
“You’re lucky to be free before us” they would tell me. I disagreed.
“Driving isn’t freedom, guys, not in my family.”
Driving in my family is not freedom. It wasn’t when I was a teenager first learning and it still isn’t now that I’m an adult and unable to drive. When we learned to drive it meant that there was another person who could run errands for Mom. It was one more service that you were going to be offering.
My friends at the time didn’t understand, mostly because most of them were either single children or the last child with only one or two older siblings. Only one friend understood even if it didn’t apply to her as the youngest child in her family where everyone was able to drive.
I used to think it was something that those with large families only shared. I mentioned this around my mother, who is the youngest of three and there is a seven year age gap between her and her next closest sibling.
“Mother didn’t drive,” Mom said, “So Dad was really happy when I finally learned how to drive. He used the company car-
(This is actually a thing that does exist, or it did at one point.)
“-so he made me my own copy and I drove the family car on every errand that Mother wanted or needed to go on.”
So it wasn’t just a large family thing after all.