As usual, nothing ever goes right. Nothing ever goes as planned. Today was the day for the license. The legal, he is old enough to drive on his own, license. The original plan, was to get up as normal, drive to the State Patrol Office first thing. Before school. Get his license. Drive back to the house. He get in his truck..alone. Me get in mine. He drives for the first time, alone, to school. And me, to work. Didn't quite happen that way.
Every single person in this family is a procrastinator. EVERY SINGLE ONE. And then, when the jig is up and the stuff is going down, we are scrambling. Acting out and acting crazy. Today was no different.
Zachary took his driving course at school. They have a professional instructor. Which means, they do not have to take the written Learner's Permit test at the State Patrol Office. Nor, do they have to take the actual driving test for their 16 year old legal license at the State Patrol office. All this is done through the school. Convenient as heck I might add. If it works like it's supposed to work.
Zach informs me last night, he does not have his paper. The signed/endorsed paper which states he has passed the curriculum for his driving test. The paper he must have to take to the State Patrol Office to obtain his legal license. There are enough people who read this, who know me well. So I am not about to tell you this was happy or welcome news for me. I'm not about to tell you that I received that news well at all. I needed to get to work as soon as possible. Riding all the way to the school, which is PAST the State Patrol Office by some 10 miles, did not make me happy. And would make me later getting to work than I had anticipated or planned. I did my best to contain the anger, explained my distress, and dropped it.
This morning, we are fresh from sleep and ready. Depending on who you are asking. We are excited/him, nervous/him/me, distressed/me, anxious/me, worried to death/ME. We head out to the school to get his certification. We arrive, he heads in, says he will back in two minutes. Tops. Ten minutes pass. No Zach. Finally he comes back out. But I see no paper. There is a paper. But it's still inside, unsigned and not completed. He says, Miss Sandy is going to call Mr. Bob, and get his permission to complete it. It will only be a few more minutes. Under my breath, I am muttering, "Are you freaking kidding me", out loud I am in full court restraint of my emotions. This is his day, be quiet, don't ruin it. Just smile. He heads back in. I am texting my friend Kathy from home, who is also telling me. It is his day, smile, and chill out.
Five minutes later, he comes back out, paper in hand. Grinning and relieved. We start back towards town, to the State Patrol Office. We arrive, go in, take a number, and sit down. Within 20 minutes or so, several other people follow suit. They come in, take a number and sit down. The line at the counter is not moving. Zach begins to get restless. Rolling his head around and rolling his eyes. And sighing. Out loud.
I began to wonder myself, what in the world is going on. Then I hear, Miss Marsha talking to a man with a suitcase. Miss Marsha has been working the counter ever since I moved to Quincy, Florida. She is a dry witted, gruff old soul, but I think she genuinely likes children. Best we can make out, she is telling the man with the suitcase, that the printer for the licenses is not working right. He proceeds to take the machine apart. And Zach begins to fall apart. He is muttering about not leaving without his license. Muttering, he is not waiting another day. Muttering they had better get it fixed quick. Muttering, even if he has to have just a piece of paper and come back, he is not leaving without something that says he can drive alone. Today.
Thankfully, whatever was going on, did not involve the machine that prints out the actual licenses. Our number was called. We stood up, went to the counter and proceeded with the business at hand. Ten minutes later, we were walking out. Zach a newly freed licensed to drive alone, young man. And me, a Mama who started worrying over three years ago about this day, which has now become a reality.
I will no longer be the one to sit in the shadows of the passenger seat and warn him. Warn him of on-coming traffic. People not using blinkers. People turning at the last second. People slinging out in front of him. And no brake lights. He will have to rely on his own reliable gut instincts and his own common sense when making decisions. He has plenty of both, I pray he uses them when necessary.
I have sat here and read, one mother after another post about their babies driving off alone for the first time. About the tears, the worries, and the pain. Of our babies growing up and driving away. I am here today to tell all of you. I believed you when I read your words. And I believe you now. For today, I stood there. Frozen in place. My heart and mind feeling every emotion imaginable. Another step. Another time of our babies growing older that we must survive. With grace and hopefully, some dignity.
I waited until he drove off to cry. But I'm pretty sure. He knew as he was waving and crawling off. He knew. My eyes were full of water. Because he knows me. He knows his Mama. Just like she knows him. Inside and out.