She turned 16 last week. She took an AP Euro test yesterday and now The Child is off completing her next rite of passage at the DMV. She just drove off with Steve, a DMV behind-the-wheel test administrator.
She took the wheel for the first time six months ago in a little shopping mall in Palm Springs. It was terrifying. The next time behind the wheel was much worse. Then gradually she became more competent.
You do your best, you know. You teach them about 4-way stops, changing lanes, not crossing double double lines, and all the crap you can think of, but at the end of it all, you have to let go and hope that they do well.
This 20 minutes feels like forever. I think about irony of The Child taking a driving test in the vehicle that used to hold her car seat. I think back to taking my drivers test in Las Vegas back in 1981, dang that was a long time ago. I start playing with my phone, nervously; useless.
Oh wait, there they are!
They park and Steve fills out his paperwork. I just stand by. That’s what one does as the parent of sixteen year-old girl, one stands-by and watches, waits and writes painful checks. After a few minutes, they emerge from the car and The Child flashes the thumbs up. She passed.
Ironically, now that she is a licensed driver, she can’t drive until we have her insured. I get to drive us home.
As I drive home she is plugging away at her chemistry homework, moving from one task directly into the next with no waste of time. I think about the next big rite and what it will be like when moves to college and totally breaks my bank account and my heart.