Thursday, October 29, 2009

Mac was 'driving' me crazy!

I've been teaching Mac to drive for the last 2 months and a few days. I'm really proud of him and he's been doing a really good job.

There, of course, there are just a few times when I've wanted nothing more than to come home from a driving lesson and drink heavily. There are a few times I thought it would make more sense to drink heavily and then take him for a driving lesson.

I've also learned that it's too bad I couldn't get a brake installed on the front passenger side temporarily.

Actually, considering he drove about 3 times ever, before he got his permit, he's done a fabulous job! Other than having a heavy foot (re: speeding) he's a pretty decent driver. We've driven almost daily for 2 months. We've been in town, the interstate, country roads, highways, construction zones, bigger cities and small towns, in parking lots, one ways, neighborhoods, drive thrus, everywhere that I could think of that would help him gain driving skills.

I will admit I refused to teach him to parallel park. I can barely do that myself so I told his dad he had to cover that part of the lesson. Mac parallel parked about 25 times, over and over again, all over town, in his father's pick up truck on Tuesday night, until he nailed it perfectly. (Maybe he can give me some tips?)

Since he's my baby and he'll be the only child I ever have, this driving thing has been stressful on several levels. First, I want him to be a good driver and since he didn't take driver's education (he missed his when he moved from the Wild West back to Civilization and then it would've taken about $400 to attend a driving school) I taught him so I hope I didn't forget something in the driving process. Second, I only have one car and if he borrows it and would have an accident, I'm out the insurance deductible and a vehicle. Third, I'm scared to death to have him drive alone. I've spent the last 16.5 years taking care of him and if he's driving, then, his well being is totally out of my control and in his own hands or that of someone else driving a car who could be a stupid idiot. At least if I'm driving and something happened it would be my fault. What if he's driving and something happened? Then it's my fault, too, I guess, since I taught him to drive.

He's growing up and I'm scared. I hate this. I really do. I want him to have wings and fly and succeed but I'm terrified because he's my baby, and I want to protect him.

Which brings me to what happened Wednesday.

He had to take his driving test today with a driving instructor in my car at the DMV. We reviewed all the way there. He and I bounced "things to remember" off each: don't play the radio, turn off the cell phone, don't swear, remember to 10 and 2, no California stops, be aware of school zones and one way street signs, don't follow too closely, don't be sarcastic about anything, seatbelts at all times, watch the RR crossing, and don't speed on the highway (or anywhere else). He was a nervous wreck but still confident. (I was so nervous I threw up but didn't tell him that.)

The instructor said the test would be about 15-20 minutes long. They had been gone about 20 minutes and came back in. He failed the test.

She said they were on their way back to the DMV and he had done perfectly (including the parallel parking!) until he ran a stop sign. Yup, blew right through it. He didn't know the test was almost over or that he had a perfect score until then so he wasn't hurrying or celebrating. He had just left a school zone (where the yellow lights had been blinking) , in a neighborhood he had never been in, on a street he'd never been on, and near a fire station (he said he was concentrating on having to pull over if he hear a siren)- so much going on and he just missed it. No excuse, I know it, really I do. I understand he had to be failed. He knew it, too. Still, I felt sick for him.

The test lady told him he had done great until then but that's an automatic failure. She told him he just needed to relax and to try and not be so tense and nervous. She also told him he could come back in 2 weeks, and she wouldn't make him parallel park again since he did it so well.

I feel so bad, bad, bad for him. He was so upset. It really hit his self confidence and his self esteem. He feels embarrassed and stupid and like a failure. I feel like I failed him.

But in 2 more weeks we're gonna go back and he's gonna try it again. In the meantime, we're going to drive every single city street in this town so he's at least seen it all at least once.

Before the test I wasn't sure if I really wanted him to pass, that I just wanted a few more days of being in control of taking care of my baby boy, but after seeing the look on his face when he didn't make it--- I would take the "pass" and let me deal with my own stress than ever see him fail again.

Being a kid is very hard and life lessons to learn really suck, but being mom and letting him grow up is really hard, too. It all sucks.



Bragger said...

Tell Mac if it makes him feel any better, I had been driving for 2 years when I moved to Texas and had to take their driving test (because I thought I was gonna stay there). I failed the WRITTEN test because I misread an adjective as an adverb. An English major.


Curley said...

Truthfully, I think this will make him a much more aware driver. You know there is so much to process when behind the wheel, especially when there are so many signs is certain areas. It's also my opinion that red stop signs are hard to see, I think they should be florescent green.

Anonymous said...

I failed twice. The first time I didn't turn my signal on for a right turn. When I went again we went along the same route. When we got to that intersection I put my signal on, turned right and was happy. The problem was the instructor told me to turn left at that intersection and I wasn't paying attention. I was so concerned with the signal I didn't pay attention to the directions. I was upset. My dad eased my worries. The third time I relaxed, listened and passed. I hate tests!

Mac will be fine next time. Oh, and you're not a failure for this. Neither is he.


Maggie said...

Bragger & P- thank you both for sharing! I'm certainly gonna tell him- that will make him feel better. I've learned that teenagers, especially boys, like the idea that misery love company.

Curley- good point. And if they were neon green, I would surely never one... I think.