This is my fair warning to you all… Kid A has gotten her driver’s license.
Against all odds (and by “odds” I mean the fact that she usually drives ten to twenty m.p.h. below the posted speed limit and she hit every. single. one. of the cones during the parallel parking portion of the road test), my first-born now holds a Class D Provisional License from the State of Georgia. I am frightened.
I have already reconciled the fact that learning how to drive and getting a license is a necessary right of passage for any human being who wants or needs to get anywhere in life. I know this because I spent a lot of time considering which major cities she could possibly live in that employed practical and accessible mass transit options. Then she wouldn’t ever have to drive. Yay! Problem solved. And despite Sheepdog setting a really great example of how you can get almost anywhere using two wheels plus public transportation, Kid A was not having it.
I have also reconciled the fact that (even though it may be my deepest, darkest wish) I can not control everything. My children will grow up. They will fall down. They will succeed a little and fail a little. And some, if not all of them, will get into accidents while driving. Shiver. Here’s to hoping for fender benders and nothing worse.
The day of Kid A’s driving exam was looming and I was still struggling with the fact that she could be legally behind the wheel very soon. She was continuing to improve but her driving skills were spotty at best. She would have really good days and then she would cut off four people in under a mile. She was super confident from all of her practicing, while I sat helpless in the passenger seat. By this point I had gotten my gasps and sighs under control because they just made her more nervous. I know this because she mentioned it once or twice (or 3,077 times). So now at least my silent clenching muscles were getting a really great workout.
It was decided that it would be best for everyone involved that Sheepdog take her to the Department of Driver Services on the day of her scheduled exam. It was also decided that she would be solely responsible for gathering the required paperwork for said exam. She had been practicing for months and was taking the road test in my mom’s car (a nice and safe 4-door sedan) because she couldn’t drive a manual transmission (Sheepdog’s car) and she was very uncomfortable driving the XL SUV that we use to cart around the whole family plus luggage on trips.
So it is the day of the test and Kid A and Sheepdog head out of the house as the rest of us yell, “Luck!” But after several minutes they are both back inside the house, scrambling and worried. During a last-minute paperwork review it was determined that the insurance card for my mom’s car had expired two days prior. The premium was paid in full, yet the DDS would accept nothing less than current proof of insurance, which we did not have. I proudly refrained from calling Kid A a dumb ass for not realizing this sooner, although I thought it really loudly in my head. I also thought that it was the universe’s way of telling her that she wasn’t ready to get her license and I breathed a sigh of relief that she would not be driving alone, at least for a little while longer.
But, no! In a bold move, Kid A said “Stick it!” to my universe theory. She was stubborn and proud and confident and determined to get her license on this day. She climbed behind the wheel of all 222.4 inches of our Yukon XL (which she had only driven once more than a year prior, swearing never to wrangle that beast again) and headed out to take her test.
I wasn’t even a little surprised when I got the call from Sheepdog that she passed. She is a very safe driver and she continues to get better every time she goes out to practice. And she showed us that she can handle pressure with grace and style by the way she stepped up and drove a completely unfamiliar monster vehicle (c’mon… it’s almost a bus for all intents and purposes). I mean, she should have earned her commercial driver’s license after passing in that thing.
It has been several weeks since the test. She even has her own car now. It is much more reasonably sized and very safe (with something like 72 airbags inside, to make her mother feel better). She has improved exponentially since she started driving alone, so I feel a little better about letting go of control.
But not totally… she still has to text me when she gets where she is going. So now I anxiously await the “Safe” message from both Sheepdog (after he rides his bike into work) and Kid A every time I look at my phone. I see those words and I unclench, at least until the next time. Baby steps, folks. I’m a work in progress.
Wish me luck for tomorrow…