Last week was supposed to be super exciting and fun and it ended up being one of the hardest weeks I’ve had in a long time …
My son, Vijay, and I were soooooo excited. On February 4th, were were going to go to the DMV for him to take his driver’s test.
Freedom for both of us was just around the corner. I mean, what could go wrong?
We had all our papers in order. Check.
He’s a great driver, so it was highly unlikely he’d fail the driving test.
We were planning our celebration dinner and what we’d order through Door Dash.
He’s a runner so he was super excited about being able to drive himself to great state parks and trails for his epic runs … this boy things running 5 miles is a recovery run … last Sunday he did 2 separate runs and clocked 16 miles. Crazy, eh?
It’s his passion … and, well, he comes from an intense family. What can I say?
It was raining on the way there and foggy. Driving conditions were terrible and I was so proud of him for driving so well through it all. My confidence in him and his driving grew even stronger.
What could go wrong?
We checked our paperwork again before we walked in. We got there a full 30 minutes early, LOL.
Vijay has trained me that being on time is actually late. I’m a fairly on time person, but he’s definitely upped my skill at that.
We gave our paperwork to the guy and as he was looking through it, he asked us where the certificate was from the driving school?
Vijay responded, “Isn’t it attached to my permit? The instructors have been filling out information on the permit after drives.”
Mind you, at this point, Vijay has logged 10 hours of driving lessons and only 6 are required.
The DMV guy says, “No, it’s not attached and it’s a particular form I need that’s signed by your driving instructor.”
Both our hearts sank. In all our research and preparation, no one had mentioned this form because I guess their driving teachers had given it to them and it was a non-event.
I’d look up the requirements on the DMV site, and nothing was listed about this piece of paper.
My husband had checked. Vijay had checked.
We looked at each other in disbelief.
I watched my child have his hopes crushed and dashed.
They wouldn’t let us get the form faxed from the driving school. They needed the actual written form. Even in this day and age of electronic documents. There was no way around it.
The date was 2/4 and the earliest appointment they had available for him to take the driver’s test was 24 days later on 2/28.
24 days can seem like a lifetime to a teenager.
I called the driving school as soon as we got to the car. Apparently, they were supposed to give him the certificate after the third ride when he completed his 6 hours, and they didn’t. Nor, did they give it on the fourth or the fifth.
It was their error, and they owned that. They had no idea why or how it happened. They felt badly, but that didn’t help us.
What was supposed to be one of the best days of his life had ended in deep disappointment. He was crushed. His heart was broken.
He asked me to drive home, so I did.
Instead of a celebration, life was dishing out some hard lessons about handling disappointment and attachment.
Instead of bursting into tears because my heart was breaking too, I had to be strong for my child.
My husband told me that if anyone could get us an earlier appointment at the DMV, it was me, even though the guy had looked up every available appointment at every DMV in LA, Riverside and Orange counties and other than 2/28 in East Riverside, there was NOTHING until March ..
There I was, driving my beloved son home, in shock, and barely able to hold it together because I wanted to cry on his behalf.
Vijay is such a great and happy 16 year old and to see him so sad … it’s the hardest thing for a mom.
I did some long, deep breathing. The sun was starting to peek through the clouds after a lot of rain.
I told him that life was apparently wanting to teach us both about how to handle disappointment and to be resilient in the face of it. That this is one of the most important life lessons because no matter who you are, you will face challenges and disappointment.
I shared about the most inspiring example of this I had ever seen … during Canyon fire 2 in fall of 2017, a man whose house had just burned down was being interviewed. He was standing in front of the site of what had been his house. Nothing was salvageable.
The man told the interviewer that his family was safe and their pets were safe and those were the only things that were irreplaceable. He was grateful in the face of such a HUGE loss.
It was extraordinary and so inspiring and I will never forget him. I think of him every time I feel disappointed.
I went on to speak about attachment for a few minutes and how we had both been slapped in the face by our huge attachment to a certain outcome, that he would get his license that day.
Even with all the spiritual practice I do, even with all my work with dropping into neutral mind, I had missed this major attachment. Wow, what a lesson.
Then, I told him that I didn’t expect him to just be ok with what had happened, that it was ok to be sad, and even to cry if he needed to.
It’s so important to not emotionally or spiritually bypass and to feel our emotions.
Vijay isn’t much of a talker, so I told him I was going to stop talking so he could have some time to just be with what had happened.
Check out then next post for the surprising ending to this sad story, and how I helped my son navigate his heartbreak.