Tuesday, April 19, 2011

OMG: My Daughter Has a Driver's License.

When was the last time you felt an entire gamut of emotions simultaneously?

When you were married?

When your children were born?

When ABC announced the cancellation of All My Children?

This morning, I had such feelings, as an emotional crockpot which had been simmering for sixteen years spilled its chunky contents all over my lap: My daughter passed her driving test.

She did quite well on it, scoring a ninety-six, but got docked for poor parallel parking prowess, which she and I had practiced enough yesterday to singlehandedly raise the price of crude oil. All day long, she and I engaged the following duet:  "DadareyousureI'llpass?Yes,you'reagooddriverandyou'rereadytotakethisthing."

I repeatedly reassured her that nothing cataclysmic would transpire...like when I failed my test after about thirty seconds and without making it out of the parking lot. Apparently, I had almost backed into a woman pushing a stroller and was ordered by the tester to stop immediately.

Anyone knows you don't take your baby for a walk by the DOL testing area. And to this day, I harbor a searing contempt for that faceless mother and her now-grown baby. Move on, Tim.

As with most humans, my kid's heart pumped with giddy anxiety for the three weeks which slowly elapsed between passing the written exam and anticipating the driving test. As we finally pulled into the testing area and joined the line outside the building, our apprehension was heightened by a guy who merged into the queue, his sizable pit bull straining against its leash.

Once the dude had established his place in line, he freed the dog from the restraint and allowed it to run freely through the parking lot while he talked on his cell phone. I guess you don't want to be encumbered by a dog when you're concentrating on using the "N", "B," and "MF" words as frequently as possible.

My daughter and I benefited from his chump behavior, however, since we and everyone else in line were thoroughly distracted. I couldn't help but wonder what the guy was doing with a pit bull at a place where people routinely stay through at least three different Van Halen lead vocalists, and what was he there to do? Get his official Washington State Douche Bag Identification Card?

Finally, testing time arrived and I watched as the dirty mini van signaled and turned right out of the parking lot, piloted by my baby. Here we go. I shifted my weight from one leg to the other as I stood in the chilly morning air, reminiscing about my first-born girl and all of the "firsts" to which I've had the privilege of bearing witness: her first words, her first steps, her first tooth, her first bike ride, her first dance and now, her first driver's license.

Nothing warms my heart like the look I saw on her face upon parking the car, glancing to her tester and looking back at me.

It was the Christmas morning face.

My face probably betrayed more of a graduation day look, if that makes sense.

So many emotions, such a rich life.

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