This past month was a test of my endurance — my daughter is officially licensed to drive.
Yes, I’ve got a lot more gray hairs popping out of my head.
I was lucky in one way — even though most of her friends were allowed to take out the family car immediately upon being certified as capable of operating a motor vehicle, we were able to stall a little.
Our claim was simple: while we understood she had passed her test, she still needed to have a little more supervised driving time before we would let her spread her wings and put the little buggy into drive on her own. After all, a car is a big responsibility and we had to be sure she was ready (no matter what the state of New York thought).
But after three weeks, we could stall no more. This weekend was it. Sunday’s dawn came and Bri made up for lost time with a vengeance. I was recuperating from a migraine on the couch when she sailed through the living room, car keys in hand and said, “I’m going to the park to run, then to the gym and then I’ll be home, bye.”
“Wait!” I cried.
“You’re not ready to go all those places alone.” At that point she laughed really hard, slammed the side door, and left.
I ran to the front and yelled “You’ve got to keep in touch, you’ve got to call me when you arrive.”
But I was screeching to the wind because she was halfway down the block.
Talk about a jack rabbit start. The race was over before I even made it off the couch.
I fretted until phone call number one came through, “I’m here at the park. I’m running now.”
Calm descended for a moment and then I realized “Hey, wait. She’s running all alone in the park? What if something happens?” I chomped on my nails until the second call came in: “I finished running, I’m in the car going to the gym.”
Again a little peace, or at least until the third call, “I’m at the gym, see you later.”
It was here that I gave up the ghost and dozed off (thanks, in part, to the aspirin, the exhaustion, and the migraine). When I eventually opened my eyes, more than an hour had passed since the last check-in and Bri wasn’t home. In a panic, I picked up the phone, hit the quick dial key and paced until she picked up.
“Where are you?” I asked, “You never spend this much time at the gym. Why are you not home.”
“I’m at the car wash getting the car detailed,” she said. “Calm down, I’ll be home when they finish.”
Click. End of conversation.
About 20 minutes later she waltzed through the door very proud of herself that she had traversed the car wash all by herself.
I, on the other hand, was frothing at the mouth.
“Why didn’t you call me when you left?”
“Because,” she said, “I already called you a million times.”
And that was that. The caged bird had flown. I was alone.
Not for nuthin but if I’m gonna make it through this, I’m gonna have to stock up on a lot more aspirins.