a birthday and(not) driving

My son turned sixteen yesterday.  We had a nice dinner at his favorite restaurant ,with cake and ice cream afterwards.  Next week we will take him to his favorite park to swim. It is  almost two hours from home. It is the only thing he wanted. He literally panicked each time  asked him what he would like gift-wise. So,we ended up guessing. He received gift cards ,a big bag of candy from his sister,and a dozen folding knives from us. I think he had a nice time. He smiled a lot,anyway.

Sixteen is supposed to be a big birthday. This should be the year he gets his permit to drive. Not happening. We KNOW he will not be able to drive. He should also be getting his first real job; also not happening. Next year my husband will try and find him a position at his store.This son is going to be tricky to hire though. We are praying he will be able to work with his dad enough to gain some independence.
Ten years ago this same son had his first birthday with us. He turned six. He weighed in at thirty-five pounds and was the size of a three or four year old. We bought him Hulk Hands that were almost as big as he was.He was adorable. He had very little intelligible speech. He went through life  with a large plastered on smile;fake as fake could be. He was then,and is now a gentle soul.

I love him to pieces.

Back to driving (me crazy!)

We sat my daughter down last week and talked to her (at her) about her ability to see what was happening around her when she drove. We talked to her (at her) about the responsibility to be safe on the road. We broached the subject of inability to process all the things that need processed in order to be safe on the road etc,etc.
We talked to her about perhaps living near public transportation when she moved out. We told her adults realize their own limitations and do not endanger others. We attempted to reassure her some people simply cannot drive.we talked about brain glitches (our family term for neurological damage). I would like to tell you she responded appropriately. I would like to tell you she admitted that she had some issues driving. I would like to tell you she has some healthy fear on the road.

I would like to,but I cannot.

She did admit she might need some more practice. She also let us know her permit had expired (December of last year).
So, she purchased her car. It is now sitting in the garage. I drove home with her. I did the trafficked part of the drive ,she drove the back roads.  When she drove I broke every thing down for her into tiny bits. “Take  your foot off the accelerator now. Tap your brake. Brake. Now,accelerate”. Etc,etc.  She did better.

Because she is not licensed,the car will be under our insurance,she will title it in her name (I think she can. She forgot to get a bill of sale with the title so she could not go to DMV this past week to find out) The day I told her she needed to renew her permit, I also told her that it would be the last time her dad or I would take the initiative with her driving. From now onward, we would be glad to take her out driving (on back roads) if she asks. If she does not ask,we will not offer. She is an adult now. She must start taking some responsibility for herself. It is up to her. We will help her do for herself. We will no longer do for her. Yada,yada,yada.  We also told her that if the car sits in the garage until December,she’s going to have to sell it or store it elsewhere.
December gives her six months to become proficient or to realize she will not become proficient at driving.
At that point she will be twenty-one years old.

This was on Tuesday. Today is Friday.
She has yet to ask either of us to let her drive.

In case you are curious,my nineteen year old son has no desire to drive. At this juncture we have stopped bugging him about it. I do not want to have to admit to myself he, too, is unable to drive.

The kids have been home ten years now. In some ways they are light years a head of where we ever thought they would be. In some ways they haven’t changed much at all.  They all seem to be stuck. We are beginning to wonder if they will ever become unstuck.

Ten years from now they may still be here, cramming their adult bodies into the backseat if they want transportation, refusing to talk or look at us when they are asked to do something they do not like ,still doing weekly chores and being asked to re-do them when they slough

I am not sure how I feel about that.

About lenell

Wife to a very patient man and mom to 8 interesting kids via birth,marriage and adoption. Grandma to nearly 5,nearly perfect grandchildren.
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