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Thursday, August 25, 2011

The Countdown is Officially O-V-E-R

Oh, God help us all...but me especially.  Zach's countdown to his learner's permit is over and he passed the test.  He is now officially a driver on the streets of Richmond, Virginia.

Where the hell did the time go?  As I watched Zach today he seemed to go from shy teenager to confident young man in the blink of an eye.  We walked into the DMV together, with Zach standing a  little behind me. The clerk greeted us, asking us what we needed.  I said "my son is here to take the test for his learner's permit."  From that moment on, the clerk addressed only Zach.  She pulled Zach forward and set me off to the side.  She said "Your mama isn't here for anything YOU are.  I need your birth certificate, social security card and I need you to make sure your name is correct on all forms.  And then you need to fill out this form.  Like I said, your mama didn't come in here for anything...you did."  She forced him to answer questions and provide all of the documentation.  She forced him to look her in the eye and answer his questions.  She helped him grow up and mature today.  Knowing a driver's license is a huge step to growing up, I stood back and let her help lead Zach,  just a little, into adulthood.

I watched Zach as he stood, tall and confident, taking the test.  I saw the gleam in  his eye when he knew he passed.  I felt a little lump in my throat as I realized he really is a young man now.  I watched him mature right before my eyes.

As we walked out to the car and I put the keys in his hand for the first time, I almost threw up.  I took a deep long breath and climbed into the passenger seat.  As we pulled out into traffic I realized that 15 years ago today I sat and watched him as he napped.  He was a six month old baby with beautiful, cherub cheeks and sweet baby giggles. I couldn't believe how quickly six months had passed.  Now he is 15 and a half.  He is a man/child.  He towers over me and envelopes me his giant bear hug.  I can't believe, still, how quickly time has gone.   My thoughts were fleeting.  I had to turn my attention to Zach and the road ahead of us so he could bring us home safely.

He has done well today, my new driver.  I have to say, I think I did OK as well as a first time passenger.  I had one or two moments of "Arrrrrrgggghhh," and little gasps because Zach seems to like to hug the right side of the road a little too much.  I could feel the wheels crunching on the edge of the shoulder as he tried to avoid oncoming cars on the two lane road outside of our neighborhood.  But  he did do very well  navigating  through lane changes, stop signs, stop lights, u-turns and the interstate.  We've been busy.  I want to make sure he has enough experience so that when next May comes flying into our lives Zach is ready to take on the road as a fully licensed driver, without needing me beside him in the passenger seat.

I may not like it that the countdown is over.  I hate it that my kids are growing up right before my eyes.  I am learning to accept that I have no control over them growing up.  All I can do is teach 'em well and hang on for the ride so when it's time for me to let them go just a little more I can know I have done my best....for the love of my children.

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