A Classic Case of “Not Fair!”
This Hurts Me Much More Than It Hurts You!
Aidan failed his driver’s test today…for the second time. It is an interesting phenomenon the heart of a mother. It hurts just as much when your child leaves you as it does when they have what we know are minor life disappointments (but they seem HUGE to them and maybe we hurt for that reason.) My heart is broken for Aidan, as is his own. The test was at 9 am this morning. I had missed a whole week of school last week due to a flu that kicked the snot out of me so I was unable to miss more work and therefore couldn’t bring him. I was so anxious and of course feeling guilty. But he was in good hands. My mother (Aidan’s grandmother) took him and after all he specifically requested her. So all morning I rationalized that he’d feel safe and secure on the way to the test knowing that in his mind if he couldn’t have his mother, he had mine. I also reminded myself that if he failed that she would be sure to soothe him in any way possible. She’s always had a thing for Aidan. Maybe it is because it is her first grandchild. Maybe it is because she was there when he was born. Whatever it is, Aidan feels connected to her and she to him.
But the option of failing never entered my mind. Aidan is a superior driver. I am not just saying that because I am his mom. Nope. I am brutally honest when it comes to my kids. If they aren’t doing something correctly or have a severe flaw I don’t sugarcoat it. Nope, this “ain’t” sugarcoating. He truly drives responsibly. It is his nature to be cautious and careful and it isn’t any different when he drives. I feel no qualms putting my one year old in the backseat and letting Aidan drive. He is competent…no no… more than competent, especially for his age.
So what happened? The perilous inconsistencies of life, that’s what happened. As all moms will tell their children, life “ain’t” fair. (There’s that word again. Twice in one column… sheesh!) And yesterday’s driver’s test was a classic case of “NOT FAIR!” Aidan drove perfectly. Had a nice round 100% going into his final move; the dreaded parallel parking. But he was confident. The night before Aidan and I must have parallel parked on every car parked on the side of every street in Glens Falls. Each time he did it adeptly. Never hitting the curbs or coming too close to the car. I said… CAR. Singular. One. Uno. As all mom’s of teenagers know the driver’s test has the adolescents parallel park using just one car so as to not put the young driver in jeopardy of hitting another car that they may be trying to squeeze between. Every single person I have EVER spoken to knows this to be a fact. A fact? Nope… fact no more. My son apparently is the only kid in the UNIVERSE that was told to parallel park between TWO… DOS… cars.
He panicked. He FREAKED. He-had-never-done-it-before! He tried his hardest but just couldn’t pull it off. The first attempt he hit the curb. The second, nerves frazzled, he couldn’t even get it remotely NEAR the curb.
When the story was retold to me by my sobbing mother who just felt so incredibly awful for the… (I am quoting here) “the best teenage driver she has ever seen!” (Ok… she may be a TAD biased.) I got furious. My stomach started to roll. I cursed creatively in the girl’s bathroom for 10 minutes. I had half a mind to call up the DMV and report this man who obviously has ice in his veins. But the voice of my trusted (and probably beleaguered) therapist whispered in my ear, “A good mother helps her children see the lessons in all of life’s ups and downs and acts as a go between to help teach them to solve problems.” So I told my flipping stomach to knock it off. I spit out my last swear word and went to pick up Aidan at school. I braced myself for the ranting and raving that would sure to be coming. Teenage boys can be pretty out of control when things don’t go their way. As he approached the car I tugged on my seatbelt as if preparing for the storm to come.
“Hi Mom.” He said with a smile on his face. A smile? Really?
‘I am so sorry Aidan,” I said stroking the back of his hair.
“Don’t be mom. I drove perfect. It was not my problem that the guy decided to ask me to do something that he knew he shouldn’t be doing. He even admitted that to me! I did a good job mom and I’m ok with that.”
“You’re not upset that you failed again?” I asked.
“No. You always say if I have done my best and things don’t go my way then I should be happy that I tried my hardest. Besides, Meme (my mother) bought me an Abercrombie Sweatshirt because she felt bad. So what do I have to be upset about?” What indeed? Two life lessons rained down upon me in that moment. The first and a firm note to me, my words actually penetrate the fierce wall of the rolling eyes of teens. Good to know. Secondly and possibly a more important lesson (wink wink) is that retail therapy works not just on the mom’s of teenage boys but on the boys themselves.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Logan has lived in Glens Falls, NY all her life. By day, she is an educator with 20 years experience, a mom to Aidan and Gannan, her two teenage boys, a new mommy to a beautiful daughter, Ila, and wife to the love of her life, Jeffrey. By night, weekends and any spare time she can find, Logan writes. She loves memoir and also adores writing essays about the challenges of parenthood. This year she started a parenting blog called A Muddled Mother, an honest place where mothers aren’t afraid to speak of the complications and difficulties that we all inevitably experience. Logan has been published in various children’s and parenting magazines including Today’s Motherhood, Eye on Education, Faces, andAppleseed.