Ugggh. I’m typing this with my rocking forehead pressed to the Corian counter in denial. And once again…my feet are beginning to sweat. I will be the first to admit I fail in parenting when it comes to teaching my kids to drive. In short…I HATE IT! I think my animosity comes down to basic logic…because…I’m a logical person. The subject of this summer’s driving is Zak. He’s smart. He’s responsible. He’s a great kid… but simple logic continues to whisper in my ear, “How could someone who cannot find the Nutella in the pantry right in front of his nose find the mall 10 miles away in a 2 ton death machine? Or, how could someone who steps over his own pile of dirty clothes and not notice them not be able to avoid baby bunnies or small children or feeble adults with walkers? Or, how could someone who mows an entire acre of lawn before he notices he forgot to drop the blade on the lawn tractor not know he’s driving with the trunk open? ” Logic is killing me when it comes to facing driving 101.
A few years ago, when Hannah was 15, I wrote a story about my first few moments behind the glove box rather than the steering wheel. I’m revisiting those moments because I’m trying to convince myself it isn’t all that bad…
July 31, 2009
I should have clued in that this changing of status in Hannah’s life would take all the patience I could muster when we walked into the DMV, pulled number 328, sat down only to realize that they were serving number 264. The sarcastic optimist I sighed to Hannah (Sam and Noah too) , “Hey, we only have to wait for 64 people.” Hannah was really ok with it…Sam and Noah looked like they were being sent into the Sahara Desert without Oreos, milk, and Pokemon.
A lot of drama goes on at the DMV when you have an hour and 45 minute wait. We, of course were part of the drama because we had Noah with us. He only crawled with his tongue hanging out to the water fountain once though…I made him stagger on his feet the other times.
When it was finally our turn Hannah popped up to the window in record time as we had 64 people in front of us to observe whether or not they could win the race and touch the counter before the next number was called. We weren’t going to miss that 2 second time allowance. You may not know this but the underground motto of the DMV is, “You snooze…you lose.” We had everything we needed and were on a roll until our DMV Hostess of Cheer asked for Hannah’s social security number. I calmly noted to her that it was with the paperwork. She calmly noted back to me she had already shredded the paper I had written it down on before she logged it into the computer. I calmly noted, under my breath, that that was a really stupid thing to do. Then something strange happened as my mind started racing. The consequences of this shredding spread beyond the brown counter of the DMV. I was seconds away from having to walk out the door with a despondent Hannah, a clueless Sam, and a staggering Noah…empty handed. That’s when my feet started to sweat. My. Feet. Sweat. Who knew!! What the heck…I’ve never had sweaty feet. As best as I could, I tried to ignore what was going on in my Birkenstock’s and focused on the task at hand. I had just filed adoption finalization papers for Noah and knew our tax information with all the kids social security information was on Jeff’s desk. The next task…calling Nick and verbally guiding him to those precious 9 numbers. Hmmmm…now I know how, on the show 24, Chloe feels when she is trying to ‘walk’ Jack Bauer through the steps to disarm a terrorist bomb on her Verizon cell phone and save the left side of the North America. But did Chloe ever get sweaty feet syndrome? Doubt it.
“OK Nick…turn off Sports Center and focus on my voice.”
After 5 minutes of focusing and refocusing Nick’s attention I was beginning to wish I had worn my waterproof sandals. Nick delivered though and found Hannah’s #’s. Long story short…Hannah got her driver’s permit on Tuesday, July 28, 2009.
Oh, but the story does not end there…nor do my sweaty feet. Now all I hear from my sweet daughter’s lips is, “Can I drive.” I really never thought through this period of my life. I guess I’ve kind of been pre-occupied. I’m a control freak…I admit it…and to hand over the keys to my vehicle to my 15 year old daughter is something I have never processed. Oh. My. God. In Hannah’s defense she is doing great. I have no defense…I hate being in the passenger seat. Suddenly I am on the white line side of the car…and at times that white line is running right through the middle of my seat. That’s when my feet sweat. When I ask Hannah to make a moving right hand turn and she accidently presses the gas and we take the turn on (what I still believe to this moment) two wheels…that’s when my feet sweat. When there is a possibility a car is going to merge in front of us and Hannah starts chanting, “oh shit, oh shit, oh shit.” That is when my feet sweat. When she comes up our driveway and is headed into our garage parking just centimeters from our refrigerator. That’s when my… feet… sweat.
I have come up with a solution however. When I am the ‘shotgun’ position all vents point toward my feet. If that’s not enough I put my feet up on the dash and let the cold air blow through my toes. It’s working…my feet have gone on two drives without a drop of sweat to show for it. The rest of my nervous system however…it’s shot.
It’s bad, isn’t it? For what it’s worth, I survived Nick’s summer of driving 101 last year, barely. Ok, I admit it…I refused to get in the car with him after the first few drives. Jeff took over. So now here comes Zak, and as much as I want to be that cool parent that supports those important pinpoints on his timeline of life, I just don’t think I can do this again…at least not without the support of some really good waterproof shoes and an IV tap into a decent vintage Merlot.