Another Milestone

23 Dec

Friday marked another major milestone in our family. Mini-DD and I went down to the DMV and procured his real-live Alabama Drivers’ License.


Now that the moment is here, I find myself oddly afraid. Not in the way that I was afraid to leave him at seven weeks old with strangers when I went back to work and not in the way I was afraid when we took him to school with his enormous backpack to pre-K. Not even in the way I was afraid when we went out to dinner and left him alone at home for the first time.

This is a whole new level of fear. One that I’m having difficultly in making my boy understand. You see, he’s 16. At 16, he can’t conjure up the meanness, nastiness, uncaring, deviousness and irresponsibleness that is out there waiting for him — particularly while driving MY automobile.

He’s had his permit for a while now, but that only allows him to drive with a licensed driver. That means that this is the first time he’s allowed to drive alone. On Friday, after we got home from the DMV, I sent him to the store to pick up a few things. He made it back in one piece (an hour later), but carazy thoughts ran through my mind the whole time he was gone.

What if he gets a flat? What if he gets in a wreck in the parking lot? People are always zooming through there….

I think he knows where all of the paperwork for the car and tags are if he should get stopped. Oh Lord, what if he gets stopped on his first drive out. Will he be scarred for life and never want to drive again?

These and about 1,000 other things kept swimming through my mind as I tried to pre-occupy myself with other things like wrapping Christmas gifts. When I was about to take a shot of whiskey to steel my nerves, he bolted through the door. Later, he asked me why I didn’t ask him how his drive went. I answered nonchalantly and in total cool Mom mode, “Well, you didn’t call to say you’d wrecked and you made it home, so I figured it was good.” He never saw the underlying frayed nerves.

I know this is a new chapter. One of independence and trusting. I just want him to be careful and be aware. However, I know that at some point, you just have to shove them on out there and say, “Go. Go do it.” As long as the whiskey bottle is close, I might make it through until he leaves for college.

Ironically, the picture I took of my child near our Christmas tree, provided a sort of backdrop of his journey. The ornament to the left of his head is the one I bought in 1991 for his first Christmas. The angel above his head is the one he made for us in 2nd grade, and the soccer snowman is one I bought this year to commemorate his soccer prowess. Many of the ornaments represent different stages of his life, and ours and each year provides us a way to reflect on all of the years that have passed.

A couple of years ago, I heard this Susan Tedeschi’s cover of Bob Dylan’s Lord, Protect My Child and I immediately fell in love with it. It conveys exactly how I feel at this time in our teenager’s life. I like it coming from a woman. A Mother. My boy is a good boy with a good heart, but he’s still a teenager — true blue — complete with bad attitude, laziness and mischievousness. For me, this song kun-NECKs and conveys exactly what I feel.

For his age, he’s wise
He’s got his mother’s eyes
There’s gladness in his heart
He’s young and he’s wild
My only prayer is, if I can’t be there,
Lord, protect my child

As his youth now unfolds
He is centuries old
Just to see him at play makes me smile
No matter what happens to me
No matter what my destiny
Lord, protect my child

While the whole world is asleep
You can look at it and weep
Few things you find are worthwhile
And though I don’t ask for much
No material things to touch
Lord, protect my child

He’s young and on fire
Full of hope and desire
In a world that’s been raped, raped and defiled
If I fall along the way
And can’t see another day
Lord, protect my child

There’ll be a time I hear tell
When all will be well
When God and man will be reconciled
But until men lose their chains
And righteousness reigns
Lord, protect my child

Bob Dylan wrote this song in 1983 and included it on his 1991 Bootleg Series 1961-1991 CD. It’s been speculated that Dylan wrote this song for one (or perhaps, both) of his young sons at the time, Samuel and Jakob. Samuel was 15 and Jakob 14 at the time Dylan penned the song. While I’m not a huge Dylan fan, it is certain that he and I have/had one thing in common. The love and fear for a child.

Congratulations, Mini-DD! Now, get to work so you can pay for gas.


Posted by on December 23, 2007 in that's life


2 responses to “Another Milestone

  1. shrewspeaks

    December 23, 2007 at 11:28 pm

    Congrats Mini-DD!!!!!

    MM I am soooooo glad Beau will never be able to drive.

  2. jenfera

    December 24, 2007 at 2:03 pm

    Yes, congrats to Mini DD! And congrats to MM for letting him use the car so soon!

    I’ve been through this with two stepdaughters now. It is nervewracking, but eventually you begin to appreciate the convenience.

    Merry Christmas, Everyone!


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