The Road to Forgiveness is Paved With Keys To My Car

Ever since my daughter passed her learner's test and started driving in her grandmother's hay field, there has been a pit of dread sitting heavy inside my abdomen. Like a rusty old anchor, wrapped in my guts and weighing down my soul.

It's not that I fear her driving, although I suppose I do. And it's not that I don't want her to have more freedom, except I kind of don't. No, this dread and anxiety relates to one thing, and one thing only.

The driver's road test exam.

Yes. For the past two years I've basically been suffering test anxiety for a test I already passed 18 years ago.

Even as I write these words I realize these are the signs of being too heavily invested in my children's lives and holy apples, I need a life outside of motherhood and the internet.

It's not like I have horrible memories about taking my own road test all those years ago. I don't. And it's not like my daughter didn't pass her driver's training with flying colour because she did. (Thanks Rick!)

I think part of the reason I was so anxious about this particular moment in her timeline was because it means she's just one step closer to adulthood. A driver's license brings her one step closer to getting further away from me. I'm not all that ready to let go of any of my babies just yet.

The problem here is not her growing up, it's my refusal to do so.

Blogging. The place you can work out your issues when you're too poor to pay to sit on a therapist's couch.

But it didn't matter how anxious I was, the pages on the calendar keep turning and suddenly, it was time for her to take the test.

Except she didn't know that.

I may have neglected to tell her. You should read that sentence as "I chose not to tell her." Po-tay-to, po-tah-to. WHATEVER.

In my defense, I have no real excuse. I just couldn't bring myself to watch her worry sick over something I knew she was clearly ready to do, so I took a gamble that she wouldn't mind being surprised with a major life test at the very last possible second.

Or, as my friend TwoBusy pointed out, I was totally giving her the gift of a matching anxiety attack. The sweetest gift ever.

In hindsight, I can admit this may not have been the wisest course of action ever.


So when I showed up at her school, unannounced, in the middle of the day, she was a tad confused.

"Grab your stuff and let's go. We have places to be." Ten minutes before she was scheduled to take the exam and I STILL couldn't bring myself to tell her what was happening. This was my SHINIEST MOTHER MOMENT EVER.

She hopped in the car, so trusting, like an innocent puppy unaware it's about to be kicked. She chattered about her physics class and her friends and I sat there, sweating buckets and wishing the road between the school and the local registries office was longer.

As we pulled up in front of the office, she stopped her chattering and asked, "What's going on? Did you get another speeding ticket you need to pay for? Dad's going to kill you."

"Um no. You remember you always have to check your mirrors and adjust as necessary whenever you get behind the wheel after I drive, right?"

She nodded yes.

"And you remember to always put on and take off the parking break?"

"Yes. What's going on Mom?"

I ignored her and continued on, "And you remember to use your mirrors and your shoulder checks when parallel parking."

"I got it Mom. I did take driver's training." Like duh.

She still hadn't caught on. LIKE A LAMB BEING LEAD TO SLAUGHTER. My pits were dripping wet with nervous energy and I couldn't put it off any longer. Her exam was scheduled to start in six minutes.

"Okay, out you go," I said as I unbuckled my seat belt. I stared straight forward and slapped on my most innocent face, "let's go get this done."

"Get what done Mom?" She narrowed her eyes at me.

"Let's go get you a driver's license! It's TEST TIME BABY!" Oh ya, because that's the funnest THING EVER.

"What? I'm not ready! I thought you said it was scheduled for Thursday! I need to prepare!!" Her eyes reflected the panic I could hear in her voice.

I sighed and turned to her. "Okay, listen. I should have told you but I didn't want you to psyche yourself out. You are ready to take this test. If I didn't think so we wouldn't be here right now. You can do this. You are ready." Meanwhile, inside my head I was all, "Please don't hate me, please don't fail, please don't hate me, please don't fail..."

"Some warning would have been nice MOM."

"I said the same thing when I suddenly went into labour with you. Consider us even."

I felt like a heel, I swear it. But she looked me in the eyes and I nodded and I watched her push her shoulders back and take a deep breath and open up her car door.

"I kinda hate you right now."

"Fair enough. Hold that thought," I said as I whipped out my iPhone to capture the moment.

The Before Shot. Panic and Disdain. A teenager's eau de parfum

 The After Shot. The smiles of victory

And then I held open the door to her future and she walked right through it.

I figure her hatred will only last until she wants to borrow the car. I'm cool with that.