>Crying at the DMV

>I know what you’re thinking…who hasn’t wanted to shed tears at the DMV? Typically, the process of awaiting your turn at the DMV is akin to a root canal without anesthesia. On the upside, I’m never disappointed by the people watching! Someone’s bound to pitch a fit, speak way too loud on their cell phone, scream at a bored child, and bare a mid-section. Hey, it’s great fodder for character development in writing.

These recent shed tears are different, though. To be fair, let me back up and say that my past few trips to my local DMV have been fairly benign. Despite the lobby being packed with the above mentioned crowd, I’ve managed to slip in and out within an hour, often under the scowls of angry consumers who’ve yet heard their number announced. No, these tears were about transition, the rite of passage, another milestone, another letting go: I brought my son in to get his driver’s permit.

Now, my daughter is anxious to point out that a Charmin commercial can make me teary eyed. She’s right. I blubber through movies (completely bawled when Mr. Magorium died in Mr. Magorium’s Wonder Emporium), get misty eyed during every, “Happy Birthday to You,” and weddings, well…thank goodness for waterproof mascara.

I work hard at trying to not publicly embarrass my children, so when we went down to the DMV, I told myself, be cool…don’t whip out the camera and shoot 75 photos as he takes his test. I was really okay as we waited for his turn. We discussed the book Dracula, which my son is reading for his Advanced English class. Even when he was called up to window 4 and asked to show his birth certificate, proof of driver’s ed completion, etc., I held it together. But I’ll be damned if it didn’t take the DMV lady complimenting my son on his good manners, offering that she could see he’d been raised well, to break me down. Oh crap, I thought, here come the water works. Still…I could feel the vibration reverberating off of my son as if to say, “Don’t…not here. Not now.”

I stuffed the emotions down inside and lugged his twenty pound back pack over to a chair while he began his test. Something about seeing his six foot frame hunched over that little piece of paper ripped me up, and all I could thing was, “I just had you! I was just chasing you around the playground, standing beneath the play structure in case you fell.” And the thought occurred: I won’t always be there to catch him when he falls…or crashes, or swerves to miss a deer, or skids in the rain, or, or, or.

It’s huge, this process of letting go a little at a time. I’ve loved every stage…okay, not the crying at 2:00 am after I’d gotten off work at 11:00. And maybe not the tween, “I know, Mom. GOD!” Sigh, mutter, slump off to the other room. But this feels really big. This is real independence coming down the pike. It’s wonderful, painful, joyous, and terrifying all wrapped up together with a big frickin’ bow on top!

You’d be really proud of me; I only teared up. Not even a sniffle escaped me. I saved it all for later.

When I told him later what emotions were hurricaning through me, he rolled his eyes–not in a oh brother, sort of way, but rather, more like a wise old turtle saying, “Oh Mom, what are we going to do with you?”

The answer to that question remains to be seen. I’m banking on a blossoming writing career, book tours, signings, and more writing to filling that space. It’s optimistic, but then again, all of my young adult life, I dreamt of having two wonderful children who would make my heart sing. I’d say, it’s paid off to dream!


One thought on “>Crying at the DMV

  1. >Oh the joys of mothering a teen!! I remember when my oldest started driving. We've since sold the car, but I'm sure the imprints of my fingernails on the dash and my imaginary brake footprint are still there. Now, he's a master at 4-wheeling in the snow and drives all over town everyday for work. I've got one more to get through it with, and he's counting the months…as they always do. I'll be stocking up on hair dye and chamomile tea (or maybe valium)to be sure!

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