Yes, a major milestone and hurdle to adulthood, James Michael Lee Murphy is now a licensed driver.'
It was a bit of an ordeal but he got there.
A bit of context, getting a behind the wheel appointment in the Twin Cities is like trying to get an audience with the pope. It take forever and you need to have connections and do favors. Since we didnt want him missing school and he didnt want to miss football, it left us precious few options for his test. In fact, it meant that Tracy and Jimmy drove to Winona in late August for the 1st attempt (foreshadowing, you can see where this is going...). Its a 2 12/ hour drive, the did it in the dark, through road construction and Tracy made Jimmy drive. They had a wonderful chat about football, school and life and encountered some harrowing fog and windy hilly river roads but they made it!
The next morning, after some last minute rules of the road cramming and texting with a friend from Korean camp that is learning to drive in Winona, they were up and headed to the drivers station. It did not look good. The instructor was flustered, crabby and might have been hung over. It didnt go well. While Tracy waited with bated breath, Jimmy came in shaking his head and downtrodden, he didnt pass. What really killed him was that it wasnt one thing. It was a point off here and there and a mandate to practice for another week and try again. UGHHH!! It would have been better if he crashed or hit the pylon during parking. But the slow no was killing him. Lets just leave it at ... the ride home sucked.
So, back to the drawing board to find a time to retest and back at practicing parallel parking and driving. For the 2nd test, we were insistent that he use the Pilot as its going to be the car he drives. But, this is infinitely harder to park than the Insight (which he used in the 1st test). Needless to say, the next 2 weeks were full of practice, frustration, minor moments of hope and building anxiety that he might not pass his second time either (on our part, for his part he figured "I've already passed once, i just need to do it again" the kid does not lack confidence...)
We found a 10am appointment in Chaska (30 min away) but it meant he'd have to miss gym. We were ok with that compromise. Now, the argument, who's going to take him. As the brilliant young man he is, he refused to choose between Mom or Dad. Mom wanted Dad to do it because she still has PSD from the 1st attempt. Dad is steering clear and is actually scheduled to work at that time. So, Mom it is, a second time.
Tracy heads to school to pick him up at 9am with a sinking feeling in her stomach and on the verge of heartburn with all her nerves. The drive home will be a disaster if he doesnt pass this time.
As she pulls into school, kids are streaming out ... a fire drill! They manage to find each other and off they go. Jimmy driving and getting warmed up.
The testing center is WAY more welcoming and there are many parent/kid combo sitting nervously around. Jimmy has, of course, researched this site and quizzed all his friends that have tested here. Its an open course and he's feeling confident. The instructor comes out and has a big smile on his face. A much more auspicious start than that 1st! As Tracy is waiting, she's visiting with other parents and most are here for their 2nd or 3rd attempt. We are in good company.
Jimmy comes back - all smiles, thumbs up and excited. He passed! His instructor even commented that his 1st attempt was a marginal fail. They did the parking part 1st and while his parallel parking was ugly, it was effective (life hack, he turned his side mirror way down so that he could see the curb) In an interesting turn of events, as he was parallel parking, there was a fender bender 1/2 block away. The instructor got on the phone to call 911 and Jimmy was wondering if it was all a staged part of his test, to see what he'd do in an accident and emergency vehicle situation. It was real life however, he stayed calm, navigated the police cars and passed with flying colors!!
Jimmy, we are so proud of you ! You worked hard, persevered and did it!
His 1st outing driving alone? GameStop to put money down on a new game...typical kid.
XOXOX Love you Jimmy!!