I apologize for posting late. I am having internet issues. But here you go…
Younger turned fifteen in July. But he refused to study for the written exam for his driver’s license.
Finally, I decided patience was no longer a virtue.
“I’m picking you up after school,” I texted him, last Friday morning. “And you’re going to take the test for your permit. I’ll have the book with me.”
And so I did.
We sat in the parking lot for an hour while he crammed numbers and road signs into his head. Then, after a quick search for an unnecessary pencil, we ventured into the building.
He didn’t seem too anxious before the test.
He was a wreck after passing.
“I’m not driving home,” he told me.
“I already know that,” I assured him.
And I drove him across the small town to finalize the paperwork.
While the woman chatted with him, friendly and laughing, he quietly answered her questions, his knee bouncing in a wild rhythm. Uncharacteristically subdued, he barely seemed aware of her constant conversation, wiping his palms from thigh to knee.
Then she asked him if he wanted to be an organ donor.
He stilled. No bouncing knee. No hands rubbing against his jeans.
He did not even blink.
His eyes rounding, he stared at her. Then shook his head once, slightly. Then again, with a little more emphasis, but without removing his eyes off of her.
Laughing, I patted his shoulder. “She doesn’t mean immediately, Younger. They’re willing to wait.”
And so he reluctantly agreed to organ donation, although he appeared offended that she would discuss accidents and death and body parts within fifteen minutes of him obtaining a permit.
But then she was done with the questions, instructing him to stand in front of the blue screen, saying “Wait for the flash of light.”
Younger arranged his facial features in his usual I-don’t- want-to-do-this expression whenever a camera is aimed in his direction.
“You’ll want to smile, Younger,” I told him.
And he opened his mouth – most likely to tell me off – when a streak of light flashed before his eyes.
Immediately, he whipped his head towards me. “Seriously, Mom?” he demanded, his voice rising. “Seriously?” Then he was laughing. “Seriously?”
“Oh, hon,” the lady said. “You’re going to want to do that again. You look like you’re kissing the camera.”
“Seriously, Mom?” he repeated, squaring back up to the camera, struggling not to laugh, to not even grin. A picture is a picture, after all, and he has a reputation to maintain. “Seriously.”
So he failed. He actually looks happy in the picture.
“When I go for my license, I’m going with Dad,” he announced, as we trudged back towards our truck. “No, I’ll go with Elder. He won’t make me laugh. Seriously, Mom?”
I rewarded him with ice cream. So, he still likes me a little.
He’s my baby. A baby with a learner’s permit.
Or maybe a young man with a learner’s permit
Independence is all fun and games until my sons gain a little of it.