My Daughter is 16 Today (March 25, 2000)

Today Kathleen is 16. This is her day - a bright, sunny Saturday morning. She wants to get her driver's license, but must get her learner's permit first. So this morning we all pack up and drive to the Enfield DMV to get her permit. They tell me to keep quiet and sit in the back seat for the drive up. They get me a coffee and a newspaper to occupy me for the trip.

We get to the DMVin Endfield. I tell Marylynn and Kathleen I'll wait in the car while they go in for the permit. So I am listening to the radio and reading the paper when there is a tap on the window. Marylynn says she forgot her wallet and I have to go in to show my license. I say an expletive under my breath which is overheard by a nearby instructor and student, and this inflames her. We go in, going to the head of the line. We all step up to the counter and I show my license to the clerk and sign the form. I then tell Marylynn I'll wait in the car - to which she replies rebukingly: "GOODBYE". I go back to the car and pick up where I had left off - reading the paper.

A short while passes. I am daydreaming - looking out the driver's side passenger window (the shady side) when Marylynn and Kathleen come back to the car. They get in. I ask Kathleen how she did. She says sobbingly that she failed the written test and breaks out crying. She says she had gotten flustered and confused because Mommy is mad at me and that she didn't want to disappoint me by failing. She says she missed three questions out of ten - she would have passed with two wrong. There were three other teens who took the test with her and they all failed. She says that previously three of her friends had taken the easier "sign test" and they all passed. She then gets her driving manual out and reviews it. It is now 10:15 AM - still time to go and try the test at another DMV (another $6.00 fee). They choose the DMV in Willamantic, about 40 miles away. Maybe they would give her the "sign test" there. Since we had to drive through East Hartford, I volunteer that we stop at the house and pickup Marylynn's license - and hopefully let me off. I doze off for awhile, and when I wake up, we are on the highway in Manchester, just past the house. They had decided to drive to Willamantic without stopping, to save time before the 12:30 PM DMV closing.

We are driving east on Route 6 in Bolton when Kathleen asks about the dashed line in the middle of the road and what it means. We tell her if the dashed line is on our side of the solid line we can pass, but if it is on the other side we can't. She says that is one of the questions she missed.

We get to the Willamantic DMV at 11:30 AM. I reassure Kathleen that it was a hard test and just do the best she can. We all go into the building. There are very few customers there. We fill out the form and sit down in the waiting area. Before long Kathleen is called. I wish her good luck and we wait. I say a prayer to St. Anthony and St. Jude and sit in readiness, hoping for the best but ready to accept the worst. After awhile Marylynn says she heard good sounds from over the counter. Before long Kathleen comes out beaming - she say she passed - it was the same test she had failed two hours before, except this time she knew about the dashed line! Kathleen shows off her prized slip of paper: the learner's permit. We both kiss and hug Kathleen and we all go out into the parking lot. I tell Kathleen I am very glad she passed, because any more attempts would have seriously wounded my relationship with Marylynn.

Later that evening, Kathleen has a birthday party with her girlfriends Christine, Melissa, and Jessika. They have a cake and chat about the events of the day. After awhile, Marylynn and I leave to go eat out and catch our breath.

What a day!


Back to Bob Hobbs Page