My oldest daughter got her drivers permit on Friday of last week, it was a big day for all of us in our house. When my youngest got out of cheer practice she was so excited to see her older sister was driving the car. It was like they could both taste their freedom, in only 6 months or so, they would be able to drive all over the place without Mom and Dad. No more being stuck in the house because Mom and Dad are working and can’t drive them all over the town in the middle of the day. And for Mom and Dad, being able to tell our daughter she has to drive her sister to wherever she wants to go is going to be awesome. Pickups at school (if they ever go back) will be less and less, waiting outside in a parking lot for a movie to get out or a dance class to be over will be few and far between.
My wife and daughters went to a friends house that Friday night and I was left home alone. I wasn’t feeling that great, and if we are being honest with all this covid stuff there hasn’t been too many hours or minutes where there was a chance to just be alone in the house. So, I jumped at the chance to eat a slice of pizza and lay on the couch with the dog and watch some of the playoff hockey that was on. As I do often, I got a little lost in my thoughts, thinking about what it took to get to a place where my little girl was 16 years old. I texted my wife and said “we have a kid who has her permit…are you fuckin kidding me? Lots of couples give up, lots walk away when it sucks, but I’m actually really proud of us. Look what we get to experience together. My mind is blown that we have a driver.” And my wife sent back a message saying “wait till you drive with her. I keep fighting back the tears.” And I thought, this is it, this is my reward for fighting for us when we both wanted to give up.
I know our story isn’t unique. Lots and lots of us raise kids, get to experience all of these emotions. We almost gave up on each other a couple times, my wife and I. I had completely blocked it out, but I guess during one of the times my father wrote us both a letter and poured his heart in it. My wife said she was looking for our social security cards and stumbled on these letters. We had each gotten a copy and had written a list of why we loved each other, why we hated each other, and it helped us decide to try again. When she got home from her night out she brought the letters down and us and the kids read the lists and had a really good laugh. We laughed at how ridiculous the “why not’s” were and how we were different people now. We shared laughs with our kids about a really hard time in our lives. A beautiful moment out of something that wasn’t so fun back then.
Often times I have noticed we get stuck in our daily shit. I get mad about the laundry on the kids floor, or how easy it would be if they just made their beds. Dad wouldn’t bother you over and over again, if you just threw the comforter on the bed and did a shitty job pretending to make the bed. Takes 10 seconds to do it, but no, you let Dad asks you 75 times before lunch. But then, a big thing happens in our lives and it forces us to think back, remember all the history that brought us here. Good and bad, it’s our story. But, we share it. All those memories, all that “stuff” we get to share because my wife stuck with my dumbass.
A learner’s permit is just another step in our daughter’s life. She’s got a million more things to accomplish. To her, this is just another step in her life. An important one, but one she will forget, she won’t remember the day like her Mom and I will. This is the first page in a new chapter of her book, but for her Mom and I this is the last page in a chapter for us. What I love about it though, is after all this time together, we still get to write our story together. I never have to say “I” when it comes to our story. I get to say “We” and it’s not something I take for granted like I once did. Lots of people love and live for “I” and I think that is great. I think you should be you always, I think you should be what makes you happy. I just know for me, “We” is my favorite place to be. I love that a learners permit can remind me of a million memories of car rides with my favorite person in the passengers seat.
A song can come on the radio and we remember a ride to the cape we took to watch a basketball game in 1997. We’ve got a story together, a story I love living. What’s better than that… As I always say, I’m the luckiest person on earth. My ordinary loge is made a billion times better by that girl who told me she liked me many moons ago.
Life is good… now I would suggest staying off the roads when you hear I’m taking my daughter on the roads, she’s got a bit of a leadfoot just like her mother.