My mother...such a fountain of wisdom. There are so many times throughout every day that I harken back to all the little pearls she interspersed throughout the comings and goings of the lives of my sister and I. In my head, she has been my calming influence, and my advisor when things got a little questionable or frantic....today, as I walked the young one through the monsterous maze of acquiring a drivers license in the State of Ohio, I heard her whispering in my ear more than a few times, helping me keep my frustration in check and focused on the goal, which was to facilitate one more step in his perpetual growing process.
The afternoon began with a sprint from my work to the Social Security Office, in an effort to acquire proof of the young one's social security number. The young one, that lovely person, informed me that the SECOND COPY of the card that I had helped him acquire when he got his job this year had gone missing, and we both knew that without one, even in passing the driving test, no license was to be had.
I arrived at the SS Office, noting with pleasure that it was not extraordinarily busy...good news! I thought I had all the appropriate documents, and I am his birth mother after all...assumed it would be a done deal once my number was called....but alas...it was not to be. That mean old Father Time had dealt me the raw hand of making the young one turn eighteen a little more than a month ago...he is his own man now, and his mommy can no longer access his personal private stuff; he has to do it himself. Frustrated and agitated, I called the high school and told them to have the young one in the office; that I was coming immediately to pick him up.
My old friends there did just as I had asked, and the young one was waiting for me as I wheeled up the driveway at the school. He practically had to jump in the car, "Dukes of Hazard" style, as I slowed only slightly as I passed the big front doors. Once the young one was secured in the car, I sped back down the street to the office of Social Security, this time with the "adult" in tow, so he could make arrangements for the documents he needed himself. While we awaited our turn (again), he filled out all the paperwork to request a new card.
After about fifteen minutes had passed (which was really not bad, considering) we finally approached the counter and explained our intentions. The very nice clerk there took all the young one's information, had him sign the form to authorize the sending of a new social security card to our house, and generated that irreplacable paper that we needed to prove he has a social security number to the lovely State of Ohio.
As we were walking out of the office, the young one froze in his tracks. I asked him what was wrong and he replied, "You have the papers from my temp packet, right?" I looked at him incredulously. Of course I did not have them...I had watched as he had torn up my car looking for them over the weekend, and observed as he finally entered the house, papers in hand, indicating that he was going to put them in his room "for safe keeping". Obviously he had kept them well, because they were still in his room at home, so rather than heading south to the license testing agency, we headed west to our house, so he could pick up the errant paperwork. By this time I was more than a little on the ticked side, and all I could really hope for at this point was that we would make it to the testing agency close to on time, and that on the way there we would be able to outrun the bad karma that was surrounding this endeavor so far.
For all the "fiddly-farting around" (a great mom phrase) we arrived at the license agency in South Toledo with more than an hour before the young one's appointed driving test time. He approached the counter with his heart in his throat and all his paperwork in hand and offered himself up to the bureaucratic process that is getting a drivers license. In retrospect, he and I both noted that the atmosphere in the office on this day was much different than what we had been accustomed to in the past visits. There was an almost festive feel in the air, and the testers and staff were laughing and jovial. I wonder now (I did not look at the time) if there was a dentist's office in the strip center where this office was...perhaps a nitrous oxide leak in the ventilation would account for the easygoing attitudes.
Almost immediately upon checking in, the young one was called upon to drive. The state highway patrol tester was a friendly looking woman with brown hair pulled back in a ponytail, and she smiled and chatted with the young one as they proceeded out the door. I settled in to wait, checking email, and IM, then plugging myself in to my iPod, which is my constant companion. I shuffled through a few songs to find the group I was interested in listening to, and having enjoyed less than two songs, I looked up to see that the young one was already standing in front of me, papers in his hand. His face was impossible to read...I had to ask him for the results. With no change in expression whatsoever, he looked at me and said, "So, what do I do next?"
I said, "Depends...did you pass?" He pushed the papers toward me....I could see no markings to indicate one way or the other....finally, seeing that I was not "getting it", he sighed and said, "Yes, I did pass....now, what do we do next?"
Next was, of course, the paying of the money, the taking of the photo and the getting of the actual plastic card that he has been sweating bullets for for such a long time. He was stoic through the process, cracking a smile only once or twice for our State of Ohio license bureau representative, Les, who also must have observed that the young one was being way too serious about this whole process. Photo taken (by Les) and license sent to press, we were guided to some seats toward the front of the office in which to plop our rears, to wait for the card to be finished, at which point we were to check it for accuracy and then leave. The wait was again very short (what kind of government agency is this ANYWAY?!) and before we had time to even get comfortable or chat a bit, the license was done, then in hand of the young one, who immediately indicated that HE would be driving us home.
Before we left the parking lot of the bureau, the young one called his Sara (***aawwww!***) and I called his brother to let him know that there was another menace on the road, and that he should beware. The young one finds that kind of comment only marginally amusing, so once spoken is more than enough on that little bit of good-natured ribbing. Now we have the challenge of finding a place for him to keep his car (which he has thanks to the firstborn), should he decide to start driving himself to school; we are looking into getting permission from some friends who live close, since our opportunity for an on campus parking pass slipped away a long time ago. I think that although he is playing it low key he is happy...it is something that has hung over his head for a long time, and he has taken care of it. He will be able to drive his Sara on dates, instead of her doing all the driving. He will be able to drive himself to work, instead of relying on Ann or the firstborn for lifts. He will generally be entering a new stage of independence and responsibility in his life...it will set in fully the first time he drives the car alone, and realizes that there is noone in the passenger seat to nag him, correct him or tell him what to do....it will be all him from here on in....
except....for that little voice in his head...the one that imparts those little pearls of wisdom and tidbits of guidance...the one that you can't get out no matter how much you want to...and the one that in your adult life you are grateful for, and if you cannot recall the sound of it, you can always recall the message....
Till tomorrow...much love to you...
PS - If you get the urge, stop in at the young one's blog, BuddhaofDrumming and offer up your "attaboys" on his passing his test!