My left hand has a death grip on the steering well, my right hand, slick with sweat, is firmly frozen on the gearshift. Both of my feet are locked in place on the brake and clutch.
My father in his deep, but patient voice says, “Now listen Puddin’, you can do this. Slowly ease your foot off the clutch and brake and gently step on the gas.”
Sixteen, scared, and with the whine of a classic teenager, I reply:, “I can’t Dad, please don’t make me! You get the car up the hill and then I will try again.”
With affirmation and encouragement, my father coaches me, “You can do this Puddin’ Buyce, you learn to drive a stick and you can drive anything.”
The hill was more like a mini incline, but at the time it felt like the biggest hill in San Francisco. My dad had to replace the clutch in our family car that summer, but I learned how to drive.
My Dad loved to retell this story and tease me. He was proud and so was I.
“You can drive anything” was just one of the many ways my Dad encouraged me to push through my fears.
This post is dedicated to all the fathers who inspired their daughters they could do anything they set their minds too.
“My father gave me the greatest gift anyone could give another person, he believed in me.” ~ Jim Valvano
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