Rights of Passage

It never ceases to amaze me at how quickly our children seem to grow.  One minute they are a tiny infant or a rambunctious toddler, the next minute they are a rebellious teenager and running out the door.  With each new phase there is a right of passage of sorts.  Many of my own trials with my girls’ “rights of passage” have been outlined here in my little blog.  The big ones that parents seem to notice the most are when a child becomes mobile and can run around on their own, then comes kindergarten/elementary school, then middle school, and obviously high school follows.  Then you think you have about four years to breathe.  But wait!  Don’t forget learning to drive!!  My adventure in this new territory began today.

I am aware that teaching your child to drive can be quite stressful.  However, I did not anticipate the stress beginning just by attempting to obtain the permit.  When I was entering the driving realm…way back when I won’t mention…I remember taking driver’s ed classes after school, some behind the wheel time with a driving instructor, then taking the actual test.  I do not remember the part where I had to obtain a permit.  It must have been quite easy if I do not remember it.  Well, it seems it is no longer that easy.

I prepared my daughter Virginia weeks ago by giving her links to sample tests she would have to take.  I remember taking tests that reviewed recognizing signs and determining who had the right of way.  The information she had to study included “what are the fines and penalties for….”  Really?  Why would you need to know unless you break the law?  What happened to focusing on not breaking the law?  Ok, so it’s tougher now, but she was ready.  Having done my own homework, I learned that I had to obtain a form from the school that attested to her regular attendance.  It’s summer.  Why wouldn’t her report card suffice?  Oh well, yet another adjustment for me.  So I contacted the school system to obtain this form.  I was told that I needed to obtain it from her school.  I was also told that even though it is summer, there would be someone there at 7 :30 am to assist me.  I chose to do all of this today, on a Wednesday morning. Why?  Because studies have shown mid-week and mornings were less busy days at the DVM.  So I took the morning off from work, thinking I would run to the school, get the form, go to the DMV for her to take the test, then head on in to work.  I figured I’d be to work by 10 am.  Wrong.

Up bright and early, we headed to the school.  We arrived at the enrollment office of the school, rang the bell and waited.  A man answered and told us we were at the wrong place.  We needed to go to the schools’ central office.  So we drove around and arrived at the front of the school.  It was 7:45, but the doors were still locked.  We rang the buzzer.  No answer.  Rang it a couple more times.  No answer.  So I called the school.  First I received voicemail.  I hung up and called again.  The secretary finally answered and told me the door was open.  I told her it wasn’t.  She said she was just by there (when?) and opened it.  Again, I insisted it wasn’t.  She said she would be right up.  As we waited, I jerked on the door.  Well hell, it was open.  It was just the door handle didn’t turn so I thought it was still locked.  Oops.  We entered the school and met the secretary half way through the giant building.  We followed her back through the humid, empty hallways to one of the offices.  Then we were told the computer system was down.  I would not be able to obtain the form I needed.  But then a glimmer of hope…if we had her report card, the woman could fill out the form using the report card.  I did not have it on me.  Still, I had already taken off the morning, and it was still early, so I decided to run home to find said report card and told her I would be back.

When we got home, I was faced with the sad realization that I had not kept up on my own personal filing.  I had no idea where this report card was.  I had Virginia start looking in specific places while I searched through my stack of paper chaos.  Nothing.  So I went through it all a second time.  Luckily the second time I found it, still in the envelope it had arrived in.  With the report card in hand, we headed back out the door.  Now driving on an empty tank of gas, I had to stop to get gas before we could continue.  We then proceeded back to the humid corridors of the now barren school.  You know what?  Schools can be spooky when they are empty!  Anyway, while making small conversation with the principal about his days of being a driving instructor in Texas, the secretary completed the attendance form we needed and we were once again on our journey to the DMV.

Now Nashville gave us three choices that I knew of to obtain a new permit.  One location was west of downtown.  I did not wish to head anywhere near downtown around 9:00 am.  One was in an area northeast of Nashville, but no where convenient to us, and one was about 20 miles out east.  We opted for this one since it would seem like the easiest traffic-wise.  We arrived at the DMV at about 9:30 and found that it was already packed.  We had to wait in line to state our reason for being there and to obtain a number – A034.  The counter was on A013.  So we sat and waited, filling out paperwork as we did so.  It was almost 11 am when we were finally called.  Virginia took her eye exam then went into a separate room to take her test.  I had to go back to the waiting area.  It was another 30 minute wait before came out of the testing room to get me.  Her photo was then taken and she was handed her permit.  We left the DMV at 11:45 am.  All total it had taken six stops and a little over 4 hours for this adventure.  Simply ridiculous.

Now we move onto the next phase….actually teaching her how to drive.  No, the schools do not offer classes any longer, so it’s up to parents.  Please pray for me!

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