After spending hundreds of dollars on a Driver’s Training course and surviving the required 50+ hours driving with parents, my son recently passed his driver’s test and became a card-carrying member of the California Department of Motor Vehicles.
Which for teenagers is the height of awesomeness.
Subsequent to his passing this test, I became a card-carrying member of the Insane Moms Club.
As a public service, I’ve written a guide to keeping yourself busy during this stressful time when it comes up in your life.
When your newly-licensed child asks to take the car out alone for the first time, smile and say, “Certainly! How fun that will be!” while the contents of your stomach begin a slow ascent towards your throat.
After handing over the keys remind him to drive safely, use his seat belt, and watch the speed limits. Force another smile and wave goodbye while biting the inside of your cheek to stop the tears.
And to stop the scream that’s forming deep in your chest from escaping your mouth.
Stand discretely by the frosted window at the front door, where he can’t see you watch him as he pulls away. Make a mental note to comment on how nicely he backed out of the driveway without hitting anyone or anything.
Say a prayer, clutch your rosary beads, consult the Magic 8 Ball, or whatever else you think may secure his safe return.
Wander aimlessly into his room and sit down on his bed. Wonder where the time went, then wonder why his socks don’t always make it into the hamper. Decide not to spend much time in this particular part of the house.
Decide to take your spice rack alphabetizing to a whole new level and alphabetize the spices in the pantry as well. Distract yourself with a rousing self-discussion on how to alphabetize the different salts properly and whether or not to include Epsom with Kosher, Garlic, and Sea.
Distract yourself with odd jobs you never have time for. Like trying to get all those crumbs out of the cracks on the kitchen table. Or trimming small bits of carpet that stick up higher than the others.
Sit at the kitchen table (which happens to face the driveway) and pretend to be busy blogging.
When pretending to blog doesn’t work, turn to Twitter for solace of other moms.
Remember that most Twitter moms you know have little kids and you’ve just given them something else to worry about in advance. Log off Twitter.
Start wondering how long it would take for the police to call you if he’d been in an accident.
Check for a dial tone on the phone to make sure it’s actually working.
Try not to panic when the phone actually rings, and the first thing you hear is, “Hi, this is Steve Anderson with the Cal….” and you’re pretty sure he will say California Highway Patrol. But he doesn’t. (this actually happened: he was calling from the Cal Poly Pomona admissions office. Whew).
Once your heart stops beating 167 beats per minute, check the time again and realize that he’s almost due home. Notice that it’s also getting dark, and mutter something aloud about turning on the headlights at dusk and reciting the vehicle code that mandates that.
Shuffle around the pile of mail on the counter. Sort it at least seven different ways (size? alphabetically? smell?) while continuing to casually look out the front window at the empty driveway.
When the car appears in the driveway and isn’t being pulled by a tow truck, move away from the window and seat yourself on the couch. Grab a book, wipe the sweat from your forehead, and pretend to be relaxing.
When teenager finally comes through the front door, smile and say, “Hi Honey! Did you have fun?” while wondering if it’s too early for a glass of wine.
Repeat as many times as necessary until you get used to the fact that he’s really driving.