This article is cross-posted over at Dad-o-matic
This month marked a milestone for us. My oldest daughter, Brin, received her driving learner permit. It was also memorable for another reason: We tried seven times to get it.
You might think that the poor dear had difficulty passing the test, but that wasn’t where the problem lied. She passed the test with one try. It was getting our act together that was so problematic - almost as if the entire family was conspiring to prevent this wonderful event from happening.
The first time - recorded on video no less - we theatrically entered the DMV only to be turned away at the screener. We didn’t have Brin’s social security card. We just assumed we had it. Brin had grabbed the entire binder of personal family documents. Everybody’s social security card was in there except hers.
Instead of entering the brave new world of adulthood with hands on a steering wheel, Brin experienced the adult world of bureaucracy at the Social Security office. Two hours and two weeks later a crisp new social security card arrived in the mail. We were ready to try it again.
Unfortunately, a helpful sibling misplaced the card. After ripping our house apart for a few weeks in vain, we trudged back to the Social Security office for a replacement card for the replacement. This time Brin was determined not to let it out of her sight.
A few days after the second replacement arrived, I picked her up from school and drove over to the DMV. Only trouble? She didn’t have the card on her. It was securely stashed at home.
The fourth attempt a week or so later was uneventful due to the fact that they were closed.
The fifth attempt was also fruitless. Apparently, the DMV requires the supervising adult to have a valid drivers license. Mine was completely valid, but it was in my pants back home.
So far, one could lay the blame for these goof ups on my typically disorganized shoulders, but the sixth attempt wasn’t my fault. I wasn’t late to the DMV. I had my pants on, especially the ones containing my drivers license, and we had all the relevant documents. My daughter was beginning to get excited. For the first time we made it through the screener. Number in hand, she anxiously awaited her turn to present her documents and request a test. Then she received a crushing blow: the birth certificate we had was not an original.
Both of us were flabbergasted. We were certain the original had been in there. A frantic phone call to Mum later and we discovered that she had been so concerned about the loss of the original social security card that she had removed the original birth certificate and secured it someplace else.
Instead of sulking or ranting (albeit justifiably) as Brin had done with the previous attempts, she began to laugh. Up until this point I had been the only one finding the humor in our own personal sitcom. Now it was her turn.
The return to the DMV the next day was almost uneventful compared to how the previous six times had gone. All documents in order, we made it through the screener and then the agent. My girl was allowed to take her test and she passed handily. Soon a learner permit was issued and we walked out into the warm Utah day.
Even for a family as disorganized as mine, this was an unusual event. I’m glad that I was able to help Brin learn to laugh at the situation. It was pretty farcical. Now I wonder how she’ll react when I tell her the car’s unregistered.