The only thing left to do is fall on my sword. Trust me, it would have been less painful than what happened as I tried to get my daughter her driver’s learning permit.
From the moment she was born, Casey was a responsible child; more cautious than her brother and even her mother in some cases. She takes after her father and for that I am grateful.
So now comes the time for her to get her driver’s learning permit. A few weeks back, I tried to call the Department of Motor Vehicles but of course, they didn’t pick up the phone. That resulted in us driving 45 minutes from our home to make the appointment for my baby to take the written test.
They gave us a whole lot of paper to fill out, sign and return the day of the test. Oh did I mention, they gave us the paper WELL IN ADVANCE of the test? Yeah. That.
When did I look at it?
2 PM, an hour before the test, which, as you know, was at a location 45 minutes from our house.
Now, against that backdrop, here’s what happened:
As you know, to get a driver’s license you need a number of pieces of identification. We had her passport but, as was spelled out in the several days old paper, she also needed an ORIGINAL social security card.
So at 2 PM, I went to the place where we kept those things and of course, predictably (you’re anticipating, right?), it was not there.
That set in motion a series of events that could only be compared to the floor of the New York Stock Exchange at 2:56 PM. Casey and I were running around like our hair was on fire, looking for her social security card. With each tick of the clock, I was certain a heart attack was looming.
Fast-forward to 2:37 PM; we jump in the car to head to the DMV (remember it’s 45 minutes away and her appointment was at 3PM). Did we have the social security card in our possession? No.
(I had two choices: I could call the DMV to reschedule the test but as I stated before, I hadn’t had much luck with anyone answering the phone. Or I could drive up there to reschedule, but was really hoping someone would let Casey take it anyway. Yes, I know what I was wishing for).
Rushing out (and trying to be a cautious driver since Casey’s now going to school on me), I got to the end of the driveway, well, lost it.
In front of my 16-year-old, uber-responsible kid, I broke down and cried like a kid denied candy at her own birthday party.
You see, the last couple of years, I haven’t felt like a great parent. I’m trying to build a brand, and it’s been a slow, arduous process. The number of things falling off my already-full plate are astonishing; most of the time I don’t care so much. But this one really hurt.
Casey comforted me (she comforted ME!) as the tears flowed and I mumbled something about being a sucky parent and that, for her own safety, she should find someone else to usher her into adulthood; you know, someone more, well, competent.
I know I was over-reacting (Casey told me so) but this incident hit right at the heart of my parenting insecurity; that thought I’m handling it all , I’m not doing it all particularly well.
In the end, we decided to make an appointment for next week, which is what we did, with the nice DMV employee taking pity on me (I’m sure the blood-shot eyes and tear-stained face, helped).
Casey was great through the whole ordeal, my every pathetic apology met with her, “That’s okay mom.”
But here’s the thing; I don’t want it to be okay, I mean at least not that way. I don’t want my chaotic life and work to bleed over into her life as a normal teen.
As much as I would like to wrap up this tale of woe with a nice bow, it doesn’t work like that. I feel like I disappointed my kid.. and myself.
The only comfort I take is that, if anything, I’ve taught her to roll with the punches.
I would just to offer a whole lot less of them.