Tuesday, December 09, 2008

She's Driving Me ...

I realize that this is not a very exciting picture:



but believe me, if you were seated where I was, in the very back of the van on Thanksgiving Day while my 3rd beautiful child drove you to my brother's house, you might say it was the most exhilarating ride of your life. And when you got out, your knees might be as weak as if you just delivered someone's baby en route. Yes, young moms, it's truly that exciting when your child starts driving. You have so much to look forward to.

I have been through this twice already, but I must have blocked out the horrors of the ones who came before her, because I had surely forgotten what it's like to see a stop sign coming directly at your face at 30 mph. If I grabbed the wheel every time I got frightened, I'd be on her lap instead of my seat.

I had forgotten that where your eyes go, your vehicle will follow, so if you're worried about oncoming traffic and you're watching it, your van will start heading toward the yellow line as if in a trance.

I had forgotten how tricky ice can look on a road--shiny? black? gray and rough? Yes, all of the above.

I had forgotten that when they negotiate corners, sometimes they swing WAY out before turning the wheel, and suddenly you're saying, "HI!" to the car sitting in the lane they just invaded, realizing you just infringed on someone's personal space while still within your vehicle.

I had forgotten that sometimes they start slowing up 100 ft. from the intersection, and sometimes you have to bite your tongue before finally saying, "Stop, stop, STOP!" as they stop on a dime just inches from "too far" into the intersection. There is no consistency. You cannot rest. You cannot let your guard down. Or you will pee your pants.

People, this is rough. In more ways than one.

The day she got her permit, I sat and watched my "baby" take her test. I admired her long chestnut hair down her back, her slim torso and small arms resting on the desk in front of her while she read the questions. She looked so young compared to the truckers and grandmas and real estate agents in there renewing licenses. My heart was all wrenched up with emotion.

She waited with me until they called her name to give her the results. She walked across the room by herself, and I saw the woman behind the desk mouth the words, "You passed."

I was both happy and sad. So proud, I texted her dad right away to tell him. So happy, to share in her joy. But so sad, knowing that this opens a chapter in the ending of her story with us. Once they drive, it's never the same.

But I hid any reservations and joined them at the woman's direction. We had to sign papers, both of us, and then she asked my daughter, "Do you want to be a donor?"

"Yes," Kristin replied.

"Total or partial?"

"What does that mean?"

The lady explained that "total" meant physicians could take any organ at the moment they deemed appropriate, and "partial" meant that parents had to give consent for different organs.

Kristin replied, "Total."

The lady said, "She is a minor. Do you agree to this?"

I am embarrassed to tell you that I said, "Um, I think, 'partial.'" Kristin smirked at me, but the lady remained reaction-less.

I rationalized apologetically: "She's my baby. It's really hard to imagine the scenario anyway; I'm just not ready. When she's 18 she can decide for herself, but not yet."

So that was settled. But then the woman next to me, there to renew her license, began talking about a weight loss surgery, which distracted every female employee within 20 feet. I mean they ALL were mesmerized by her before and after pictures, and the lady helping us got so distracted she began speaking to me as I were the one getting the permit. I had to re-direct her to Kristin, and Kristin and I both cracked up when the ladies around us weren't looking. It wasn't hard, since everyone was looking at the person next to us.

Finally, it was time for her photo. Another odd moment: the lady said to Kristin, "Don't smile. You can't smile." And just her saying that cracked Kristin up, which made the lady and me laugh, too. She said a new regulation had begun that day saying that no one can smile in the DL pic anymore. She didn't know why, but I suspect it's because when police stop people and ID them, the person is rarely smiling.

When we walked out, Kristin said, "I had to sign one of those screens like you do for a charge card purchase, and I'd never signed one before. It felt weird and my handwriting was terrible!"

I laughed and told her I probably sign at least one of those every day of my life.

My daughter has so many new experiences ahead of her; she has no idea, really. But I do. I'm watching over her in the wings--in the next seat, if you will, amazed that my child is becoming an adult.

But she's not there yet. For now, we could use a bumper sticker for the van that says, "Mom is my co-pilot. My very nervous co-pilot."

37 comments:

Lois Grebowski said...

Oy, they do grow up fast, don't they?

[sigh!]

Linds said...

I am still recovering from my son's first attempt. My car bears the scars, and the son blithely informed me after crossing the road, mounting the verge and stopping the car when it met a concrete pole - "well, at least I didn't go through the fence and through the mobile home parked behind it." I just looked mournfully at the front of my car and sighed.

Believe me, I am SO there with you!

Mel said...

Ahh yes the vaunted driving teen, it is traumatizing to me the mom!!! I do not like it and have already been through it twice!! Only 2 more times to go LOL...

Thanks for the entertaining post as always

Chatty Kelly said...

Really, really sweet. Made my heart hurt a little, I have 2 daughters you know. We're still 7 yrs away from that, but I know I will blink and be there.

Gwendolyn said...

Stop it! You are freaking me out! My sixteen-year-old is just now about to go get her learners permit (she just hasn't felt ready until now, and we haven't pushed it.) I know she has to do it, but my stomach is in knots just thinking about it. I'm glad that I've got another six years before my next one is this age!

Kay said...

Oh my.. my daughter tells me how many years it will be til she can drive. I just can't go there. I won't want to when the times comes either. LOL

Dawn said...

I'm a little nervous about that day myself. My DD is one who when driving the go-carts slammed into the wall at 45 mph because she didn't make the turn, smashed her helmet to bits, and immediately got up and said lets do that again. I am in deep trouble.

Dena @ Green Acres said...

Around here kids can drive alone to school (if they don't live in town) with a permit and having taken drivers ed. So off went my 14yr old all by himself. The only consolation is that he drives slower than most 80 yr olds. He's so cautious that we lovingly call him "grandpa".

But I'm totally with you on wanting to grab the wheel and almost peeing your pants. LOL

Greg C said...

You know the part that scares me? The mail boxes that I can reach out and touch as we pass by. If I say something then he rides with the left tires across the centerline and that scares me more. I think then should invent a car that is 4 ft wide for new drivers. Those stop signs really scare me too. You forgot to mention after screaming stop stop stop. They reply: I was stopping.

Sara@ Butterville said...

I will seriously need the gas they give you at the dentist to survive this! (when my time comes...in 10 years)
Show off your tree is going on today!

Mocha with Linda said...

Okay, forget peeing - you gave me irritable bowel syndrome over this. We are just a hair's breadth away from this - it will happen in the next few months with our boy.

Mrs. Who said...

Oh, I have been there and done that with two of them!! When my son whipped over into the other lane with no signal and no warning, I seriously almost had a coronary. So did the guy he whipped over in front of.

Sitesx6 said...

I'm so freaked out at the thought of this. I enjoy having my ten year olds home safe with me, depending on me for all their needs. They don't have much in terms of social lives yet, so every night they are just content and happy to be home with us. SAFE! In bed by 9 and still tucked in.

I can't even imagine having them DRIVE....I'll be on my knees so much during those times, I'll have scabs.

What a great post....our children are not our own, but we are just here to teach them to spread their own wings and fly....and you are doing that. :)

Thanks for your very sweet note on my blog!!!!!!!!

Blessings!

Melanie @ This Ain't New York said...

Thanks for sharing such a special day with us!
I've said for years that people shouldn't smile in their DL photo. In fact, they should either cry or make a face. That's what the officer sees when we roll down the window.

Debbie said...

My third one will get his learner's over the break. I dread it!

Nel said...

I must of really been one of the lucky ones. My daughter was not even interested in driving till she was 17. She got her permit at 17 then her license at 18. We tried to talk her into going when she could, but she just did not want to. And when she did her Dad took her on all the trial runs. Bless her heart she has only been driving to town for the last 4 or 5 years and she is 26 now.

Melanie said...

Been through it once...can totally relate to the above scenario.
I have 2 more to go!

samurai said...

Wow - i got a lump in my throat...

thank you for sharing. :)

The Blonde Duck said...

I'm glad I stopped by! This reminds me of my driving days!

Lynn said...

Oh Linda,

I just adore you, your daughter.... Thank you. My turn is only 2 1/2 years away.... I am freaked....

I will be calling for reassurance in a few years. Hugs. Have a wonderful day. Love you girl.~

skoots1mom said...

I felt the same way...it was like re-living the event that occurred last May for us.
Ours is driving a lot these days, and you are right...it is never the same once they start driving.
She now informs me of the best gas-priced stations now that it comes out of her pocket!
Continue breathing deep, showing her even on the days she gets angry with you; in the long run, she'll appreciate what you teach her.
: )

Laurie Ann said...

Oh, the memories you brought back to me of Kristyn getting her permit and driving (she called it driving, I called it dodging.) Yes, a whole new chapter in your life is opened now...it's a bumpy ride, too! But one that gets so much smoother as time goes on. Kristyn is 24 now and I *still* worry about her. I wonder when I'll stop? I guess when I stop breathing.

Joanna said...

And people are wondering why I'm praying for the rapture before my twins turn 16. 3 years people - be prepared! :)

Becoming Me said...

I love the way you tell your stories through writing...I felt as though I was in the van with you. Congrats to your daughter...

Oh, I smiled when I saw you on my follow list...that was sweet of you. :-) (My AMish post is up too)

Lelia Chealey said...

OH, what a sweet day of memories. Glad you're still alive. :)
I have to go through that 2 more times and not looking forward to "the boy" next year. My knees will be calloused from 24-7 prayer vigils held!

Susanne said...

Congratulations Kristen!

I so know what you mean Linda. I almost did the pants thing a couple times with my first two. My kids keep telling me no matter how hard I push the passenger side floor with my foot it ain't gonna stop the car.

momstheword said...

My son is now 20 and I am finally getting use to this whole driving thing...but my fingernails are permanently imbedded in the dashboard and my braking foot has worn a hole in the floor of our car.

Fortunately (?) he drives his own car now.

Becky said...

"You cannot rest. You cannot let your guard down. Or you will pee your pants"

LOL, just like reading one of your posts for us. I am nervous just reading about it.

Brenda Susan said...

So nerve-wracking! You try so hard to look all cool & calm while gripping the seat cushions! Painful process this is, watching them move from kids to adults!

40winkzzz said...

I have a pic like that of my oldest, only, you know, his hair wasn't long & he wasn't wearing pink.

I have two down & two to go. I don't even want to think about my #3 driving; it is truly a scary thought. My #4 will be a grandma-type driver, I think, so no worries there.

Both my drivers got that "first accident" out of the way at age 17, so it is actually kind of nice to know they're "experienced" now and have that behind them. My newly-18-y/o drove me home in a blizzard the other night and did a remarkably good job, so I guess I can relax a bit with her.

anna said...

i have six month old twin boys. before i know it, they will be driving. can you image trying to teach two boys to drive?! yikes. pray for me now!! :)

Beverlydru said...

Sweet post. Sigh. That's all behind me now. I was just reflecting this week on all the activites we were cramming into my baby's senior year last year. Now it's a daily phone call. Well, I can thank God that she calls. : )

Carol said...

Dear Lin-DUH,

Mine is 16 and has her permit but refuses to drive. I need this child to drive. She is too busy for me to keep driving her all over kingdom come and it's driving me nuts-o. What do I do?

Sigh-ned, Chauffeur Mama

Tammy said...

I cannot even think about that yet. My son is 9 and the daughter is 7. I am so dreading this phase of our future.

Julie said...

Oh I am SO there with you... my third born is now learning to drive...but this time IT'S A BOY!!!! I haven't ridden with him yet, my husband's been doing all the driving....

I'm just not sure how in the world I will handle it.....not with MENOPAUSE TOO!!!

YIKES!!!

Miscellaneous From Missy said...

Hi, I can totally relate to this. Kimmie just got her permit this month. WHY? Why during the icy season? God has a sense of humor! I wrote about it on my blog, and I KNOW you will understand that post. :-)

Mary said...

My baby girl got her permit a few months ago -- and my days as official taxi Mom are coming to an end. Seems like we just started. Time for the next season in life.