If you have kids who have a learner’s permit, I’d like to drop a little knowledge on you…learner’s permits expire. And your kid’s permit will expire at the most inconvenient time for everyone because teenage boys don’t pay attention to anything other TikTok videos where men fall and crunch their nuts. You’re welcome and thanks for coming to my TEDTalk.
The reason I’m such an expert is because my youngest had his learners permit expire, just before he was scheduled to begin his in-car driving portion of driver’s ed, in preparation for taking the test to be able to drive on his own. Those of you who think an expired learner’s permit doesn’t suck, let me set the stage for you.
Our youngest is currently 18. He is only 15 months younger than his older brother. His older brother could not wait to drive. He squeezed driver’s ed in between a heavy high school course load and lots of sports. And having him be able to drive himself and his younger brother everywhere they needed to go was a kind of freedom we as parents had not experienced since they were able to reach the cereal and get the milk out of the fridge by themselves on the weekend. Pro tip: keep the milk on a low shelf in the refrigerater and the cereal box, bowls, and spoons on the kitchen table.
Then COVID happened. Everything shut down, including driver’s ed. But that really was no problem because his older brother had his license. Plus no one was going anywhere. And who needed a place to go when you could stay in and watch so many TikTok videos of guys crunching their nuts?
And even when his brother went away to college for the spring 2021 semester, our youngest was still only going to high school and being picked up after football and lacrosse practice, which his dad was handling.
By the late spring, his brother was home from college, so our youngest had a chauffer again. But with his brother returning to campus in early August to begin football practices, and our youngest off to community college in the fall (about 40 minutes away from our house), getting that driver’s license for him was paramount.
He got scheduled for drivers ed through the summer and had his first in-car session in August, needing to complete two more sessions before he could go take the test to get his license. But as the second in-car session was scheduled, the driver’s ed instructor said to him, “you know your license expired yesterday and you can’t drive until you have a valid learner’s permit, right?”
And this is the look my face made when my son told me that he couldn’t finish driver’s ed without a valid learner’s permit because it had — in his words — “somehow expired”:
Because of COVID, you can’t just walk into the DMV and take your learner’s permit written test
for the second time because you were only paying attention to TikTok videos and didn’t realize your learner’s permit had expired. You have to schedule it. And the first available appointment was after the first semester of community college started.
Cue my husband’s face when he realized he’d have to drive our son to and pick him up from community college each day until our kid could get his driver’s license:
And this was me being totally sympathetic to his plight:
Until karma said “hold up, honey. This is what we’re dishing up for you for that BS sympathy you showed.” Because on the first day of school, my husband got sick and I had to stay home from work and take the kid to school. This was my very thoughtful rebuttal to karma:
So we piled in the car, and I took a few photos of his first day of college, as he was getting ready to exit the Rice Community College Shuttle Service for the inaugural drop off:
More than four weeks of this back and forth every day took place, as he got his in-car time for driver’s ed finished and made an appointment to take the driver’s test. He and his dad headed to the DMV on a crisp fall Saturday morning for an 8:30 a.m., appointment. At 8:15 a.m., I received a frantic call from my husband, “Where is the registration for the car? It’s not in the car. WHERE IS IT? We can’t find it! If we don’t have it, he can’t take the test today.”
I wanted to blurt out “I’m sorry, do I know you?” Instead, as I was rifling through the junk drawer in the kitchen and not finding the registration, I said “I’m on my way. He can take the test in my car.”
I jumped into my car and made the just over 10 minute trip to the DMV in what can only be described as generously under 10 minutes. I pulled into a parking space and my son ran up to the car. “Mom,” he started, “dad meant to say proof of insurance. Well…actually we’re missing both the registration and proof of insurance, but I only told him I couldn’t find the proof of insurance.”
Naturally, I stayed calm:
My husband then ran up to the car and barked, “the proof of insurance…did you bring the proof of insurance?” Instead of answering that question with an appropriately snarky “I’m sorry, do I know you?”, I simply replied, “he can take the test in my car. The necessary paperwork is always in my car.” Which probably sounded a little like this:
He then took – and aced – his driving test. I let him drive me home from the test. The whole 10 minutes home, I wasn’t sure if he was sporting an overly happy smile or a manical one.
Either way, baby. You can finally drive my car.