Recommended wine for today’s entry: As today was the last day of school for my high-schooler, I’m going to jump into summer with a glass of Barefoot chardonnay to celebrate. A light, somewhat fruity wine, and a bargain at like $6.99 a bottle. That’s my contribution to the family’s belt-tightening and a tasty one, too.
My younger daughter has now had her driver’s license for three full weeks and I am pleased to report that we have not (knock on wood, she’s out as I write) had any incidents. Well, none that I know of. She’s not the most forthcoming child…
The first day with her permit, I let her drive – a little – down the country highway we live on, the winding, shoulderless country highway with ravines on either side of it where you could lie, trapped in your car for a week, and no one would notice you. And that has really happened and it is not a neurotic mother’s imagination.
So day one, we go a quarter mile, good, turn around successfully, good, start to make our way back – going 24 m.p.h. in a 55-m.p.h. zone – when suddenly a loud honk scares the bejesus out of both of us and a middle-aged woman in a minivan passes us with a demonstrative gesture of her displeasure.
Daughter: Did she just wave? I think we knew her.
Me: Uh, no – no, I think it was a thumbs-up.
About that time we end up in someone’s front yard. All four tires.
Couple months later, she’s driving to her driving class at AAA. Now she’s actually staying on the pavement for long periods at a time. I’m feeling pretty good. Suddenly the car in front of us hits a HUGE bird, like an ostrich or at least a hawk, it bounces up off the front of her car, wings, feathers, all in a huge wad, arches through the air toward us. Hits the ground right in front of the left front tire, and up we go, up and over it with a bump and a disgusting noise.
Knowing she’ll be upset, I say, “That’s OK. Don’t worry about that. There’s nothing you could have done.”
And she looks at me like I’m an idiot and says, “What are you talking about? Worry about what?” The child, to this day, says she saw nothing.
Flash forward to the day before the license exam. We’re heading out to practice the course. When she turns onto the country highway, (remember, 55 m.p.h.), she turns left right in front of a car that is FLYING down the road. It is so close this time that when the woman flips her off I swear to God I can see her cuticle. But no impact.
The day of the license test is dark and stormy. If that gives you a feeling of dread, it should. We make it to the test sight alive, early, and screaming at each other like two alpha bitches in a prison yard.
I sit on the porch as instructed. And wait. Others were gone 10 minutes, she’s been out 24.
Finally the 14-year-old Infiniti, in all its glory, crawls around the corner. It’s a straight shot to the curb, and somehow she ends up perpendicular to it. Tries again and finally you see the lady just shake her head. Then they talk. And talk. And talk. Wow, I’m thinking, this is really ugly. After what felt like 10 more minutes, with me lurking outside the door, the woman gets out and very crisply says, “She passed.” What?
I get in next to my daughter who looks stunned. Here’s her rendition of the test:
“Well, it took a long time because the first time I tried to parallel park, it was really bad, so I started to cry a little and I asked if I could do it again. She said OK, and the second time, the lady said, ‘Wait. Did you just hit that car?’ So I had to wait while she looked at it. I didn’t. Then the third time, she said, ‘just go on.’ Then on my turnabout, I backed in fine, but then I just sat there for a long time. I guess I blanked out. Finally she told me to go. Mom, I swear, no one has ever driven as badly as I just did.”
So, being supportive, I said, “It couldn’t have been as bad as you say. Did you thank her? What’d you say when she told you that you passed?”
“Well, I said, ‘are you kidding me? I passed?’”
So three weeks, I gotta say, feels pretty good. Prayers are welcomed.