Breaking Up Is Hard to Do


Yesterday morning, 17-year-old Weston and I returned to the DMV with high hopes and some trepidation. He’s a year past his sixteenth birthday without a license because he didn’t want to learn to drive last year. He actually failed the driving portion of his driver’s ed class. He was scared to drive. While a little fear behind the wheel is a good thing–makes you think about safety–too much is a bad thing. He was nervous, and he just wasn’t ready.

And he didn’t have a girlfriend then, which explains his lack of motivation.

This year, he signed up for driver’s ed again. Then he got a girlfriend. Correction, we got a girlfriend. We’ve been dating for months. We’re really tired of dating. At least one of us is.

That would be me. I’m ready to break up.

Last week, we went to the DMV in my Jeep. The first time Ross went to get his license, he failed because he couldn’t parallel park my Explorer without knocking down the cans. Worried about the parallel parking test, I took Weston in the smaller, shorter Jeep. He’d never driven the Jeep before, so I had him drive to the DMV that morning to get a feel for it before the test. I had him practice parking between the cans before we went in.

Then when the examiner asked him to turn on the headlights, he couldn’t do it. He’s never driven the Jeep at night and, 17 and nervous, he apparently couldn’t even make a good stab at the likely location.

Here, if you fail for any reason, you have to wait a week before you can try again. Yesterday morning, back we went–in the Explorer. After getting information on everything they might ask him to demonstrate on the vehicle and ascertaining that the horn currently isn’t working in the Jeep, I didn’t want to risk it, so we took the bigger vehicle (with a working horn). When I got my first driver’s license, it was in California, and the DMV supplied the test car. You supply your own test vehicle here–and it’s almost as much of a test for the parent as it is the child. You have to show your driver’s license, vehicle registration, and insurance, and everything better work on your car. This seems a little unfair to me for several different reasons, not the least of which is that you have to take the parallel parking test in the same space whether your parent has a gigantic Suburban or a tiny little compact.

But, off we went. It was pouring rain as Weston left the DMV with the examiner and her pink umbrella.

I had him practice demonstrating all the various lights before we went in–headlights, brake lights, parking lights, hazard lights. I had to have 52 show me where the hazard lights were so I could show Weston.

DMV examiner watching Weston demonstrate turn signals and lights.

She made him honk the horn, so I was really glad we didn’t risk taking the Jeep. Then she told Weston to get out of the car and they came back to the DMV office. And I just about had a panic attack because coming back without finishing the driving test is never a good sign.

She asked me where my registration sticker was. I told her I gave her my registration card, and she said, but there’s no new sticker on your plate. I told you this was a test for parents! She gave me back the registration card and I flipped it over and found the sticker still on the back. I’ve been driving around for five months without putting my new sticker on the plate. I’m a model citizen.

Luckily, this didn’t disqualify him and she turned it into a lesson by having him apply the sticker.

And thank goodness that was the end of the drama.

He successfully parallel parked, getting in and out without knocking the cans down. All they do after that is take a spin around the Spencer town square, which is one short block from the DMV office.

And looky here! I’m gonna miss dating that cute girlfriend.


P.S. Cross your fingers he doesn’t do what Ross did 48 hours after getting his driver’s license. He could never do that and it would be just fine……..

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Posted by Suzanne McMinn on June 2, 2010  

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42 Responses | RSS feed for comments on this post

  1. 6-2

    CONGRATULATIONS, Suzanne! :snoopy:

    And Weston. :wave:

  2. 6-2

    So he passed??? Can’t quite see the card in his hand. but congrats!!
    So good luck hope hes batter than Ross too!! :snoopy:

  3. 6-2


  4. 6-2

    Congratulations to him for passing!

    I was really scared to drive when I was his age as well. I quit as soon as I got the chance, and now it seems like I’m always re-teaching myself, since I don’t have to drive very often. Make sure he keeps practicing! Though I suppose a cute girl might be the best motivation of all for driving practice.

    When I got my license, we didn’t have to take a driving test at the DMV, just the written test. Passing drivers’ ed was enough to assume you could do the driving part, lol. How wrong they were! I’d still fail a driving test, especially one like Weston had to do. Hazard lights, bah. That’s what the manual is for. :)

  5. 6-2

    I was holding my breath for him! Congrats on passing for both of you.

    No more dating… wonderful.

  6. 6-2

    Congrats!!! :snoopy:

    In my country (that small dot on the map of Europe) you can’t take the driving test before you turn 18. First you have to go to classes then you have to pass the written test, then you have driving classes with instructor – 60 hours and then you can take a test and get yourself a driving licence. You practice in official car with double controls (double everything except steering wheel) and you are taking your test in that car. It’s a long process and I’ve passed it when I was 18 but still I’m no good at parallel parking :)

  7. 6-2

    Congrats!!!!! Sorry about the break up. But I bet that girlfriend will be showing up at your farm more often now. :) Next year my dd will be taking her test. I am nervous already. lol.

  8. 6-2

    I’d be scared too with the kind of roads,creeks and rivers you have to travel.I knew he coulf do it!

  9. 6-2

    Well done!

  10. 6-2

    WooHoo! Congrats Weston!!! And PLEASE be careful….no Ross moves, I think that would put your mother into a nervous breakdown….and we (CITR addicts) just can’t have that! :no:

    In your defense, Suzanne, I’m sure your license plate was covered in ice and snow and everything else when you should have been putting that sticker on ;)

    We did all of our testing in the driver’s ed car. If we didn’t pass DE, we had to wait until we’re 18 to go through the state to do the tests. Bad story here…unlike Ross, I actually totaled my mom’s car BEFORE I got my license, when I was just test driving with her — on a stone bridge. It took a very long time to be able to drive on a bridge and I lived in the UP of Michigan…to get to the lower, you have to cross a 5 MILE bridge!

  11. 6-2

    Yay Weston! I was afraid to drive for a couple of years too. I can’t believe my mom drove me around so much. I bet it was a relief for both of my parents when I finally could drive myself around. I kind of missed those chats we used to have in the car though.

  12. 6-2

    Great job, Weston!! Glad you made it! Drive carefully and take care.

  13. 6-2

    hey Weston, good job! :woof:

  14. 6-2

    Yea for oyu all! Our son didn’t get his license until after his 18th birthday. That means no classes in our state. And he just had all the girlfriends drive him around! He had it made in the shade.

  15. 6-2

    Congratulations to you both!

    Had to laugh about the license plate sticker, though. I was stopped once for an expired sticker. (It must have been a VERY slow evening because that was the entire reason for the stop.) I could NOT figure out why there was no new sticker on the plate because I remembered getting it. The cop let me stew for a bit then suggested that I look in the glove box. Yeah, like it would be THERE! Guess he had been through this before because sure enough, there it was!

  16. 6-2

    Way to go! Weston had it easy–I took my exam in my Dad’s 73 chevy impala. Those cars were monster huge in the 70’s, but I passed the parking test (by a miracle).

    I saw that there are some that it is totally hands free to parallel park (Ford?). Wouldn’t that be an unfair advantage?!?

  17. 6-2

    So far, so good! I guess winter-driving lessons will be next. Oh, dear, more gray hairs to come.

  18. 6-2

    This is great news. He was definitely ready this time.

    It can always be worse. My sister actually crashed my dad’s car during the driving test. Needless to say, she didn’t pass! LOL

  19. 6-2

    Congrats! My girls failed their first test because the lady said they were too cautious. Right.

  20. 6-2

    I have a boyfriend now just like you have a girlfriend.. My daughters BF, I feed him, drive him so its just like dating! He has his license just no car and daughter is in driving school now. It’s so scary and so many distractions these days.

  21. 6-2


    What ever happened to Driver’s Education? That’s how I got my license, well, how I passed the physical part of the drivers license test – I flunked the written test twice.

  22. 6-2

    Umm, Mom, why is Weston in the passenger’s side after getting his license??? Just kidding. I know why. Two grown sons here. A little fear is a good thing. My oldest, after having his license for several months, totaled 3 (yes, 3) cars one night. Thank God no one was hurt.

    Congratulations to Weston! You are a good mom, Suzanne. :yes:

  23. 6-2

    CONGRATS to your son! Mine took the written part 3 times before he passed, I kept secretly hoping he’d keep failing it, LOL!

  24. 6-2

    if that were to happen to be a vanity plate, I’d say 52’s name might be Ed…seems like I remember reading that his name began with ‘E’…..

    The examiner looks like she might have been a nice person, around here anyone associated with DMV seems to be notoriously nasty.

    Congratulations to Weston…just please, always be careful.

  25. 6-2

    Good job! I enjoyed reading the comments.

  26. 6-2

    Way to go Weston!!

  27. 6-2



  28. 6-2

    Woo Hoo for both of you! It can be a bit frightening when they take off by themselves for the first few times, but oh how nice it is that I don’t have to cart my 17 year old around the countryside. In fact, he doesn’t even like to be seen with me in the vehicle! Ahhh, teenagers……

  29. 6-2

    Congrats to both of you!

  30. 6-2

    As soon as I saw the title in my RSS feed, I knew HE PASSED THE TEST! :D

  31. 6-2

    Congratulations Weston! I too, was afraid to drive! I waited until the day before my learner’s permit expired!

  32. 6-2

    Congratulatory! We also have to supply a car for the drivers test, plus the car has to be in working order. So I had my son practice, and learning all the good things about the car. Time for my son to take his test, after killing two garbage cans. The test starts, and the muffler falls off. Thank God the lady giving the test, did not see it, but she must of heard it. He passed, and then we had the muffler fixed. It is a test for Mom and Dad.

  33. 6-3

    :sun: I can totally relate. My son who is 19 just got his liscense, our car insurance jumped $150.00 a month on an 11 yr old mini van!! I think the test is rediculous. Come on! How many of us parallel park? Do they know there are parking garages and lots? My son didnt know how to turn on the lights either…day time running lights come on and off automatically! Get ready now Suzanne the insurance man cometh! Congrats Weston…you hadsome kid!

  34. 6-3

    Congratulations, Weston! :snoopy: My son is 17 and seems very uninterested in getting his license. His dad would like him to get it because he has this ridiculous idea that the boy would be willing to drive his mom to the grocery store :lol:. I never did learn to drive.

    The thing is, in our state they fling you right out into traffic. None of this parking lot parallel parking. When you take your test, you have to parallel park with that semi coming up behind you. I don’t know how anyone passes.

  35. 6-3

    My oldest decided he didn’t want a learner’s permit so he waited until he was old enough to just get a regular license before he even tried.
    Congratulations to your son. I hope he has a long, carefree driving career!

  36. 6-3

    Congrats! One more to go!
    lol…that looks like blood on his shirt in the last picture! Was the test really THAT hard?

  37. 6-3

    Congrats Weston!
    I remember skipping school(with my parents blessing) and going to take the driving test. I got a 96 because the examiner said I “had congestional tendencies at a stop sign”. Translated, I waited for a car to pass before pulling out from a stop sign. He thought I had time to pull out ahead of that car.
    My mom did not drive and my dad worked 3pm to 11:30pm so I was mom’s personal chauffeur. Mom finally learned to drive at age 39 because I was moving out of the house and she didn’t want to return to being basically housebound.
    Oh yeah, in Washington state we supply our own vehicle for the test….even 41 years ago when I took the test.

  38. 6-3

    oh hey yeah for Weston~! Only reason I ever got MY license is cuz my mother worked at DMV at the time and the guy didn’t make me parallel park :)))))) hope i never have to take another test in my life cuz i will TOTALLY fail the parallel parking:) Unless, of course, i get rich and can afford one of those cars that does it FOR ya!!

  39. 6-3

    When my son got his license at 18 we let him drive home alone while my husband and myself drove home in his vehicle (he met us there because he was in the area at the time). I remember feeling rather melancholy as the apron strings were firmly cut.
    When my daughter was due to take the test, we went a day early and followed a different test-taker on his test so we knew what to expect. We even went into the building after their tests and eavesdropped so we could see how the other drivers did, and what the testers criticism was.
    After the spying we had my daughter practice using the same route including the same parallel parking area (which was on a side road). Because we had listened in, she made sure to use her turn signal when turning into the parking spot back at the DMV. She passed easily. Now I recommend this method to all of my friends!

  40. 6-3

    Congratulations for you and Weston. :snoopy: My son waited a year too. We don’t have cans to go between, here you have to do it behind other peoples cars that are park on the street. I think I like the cans better. Don’t cry over the break up to much Suzanne.LOL.

  41. 6-8

    Good job!!! Can’t believe you followed him around with a camera!!! LOL

  42. 6-17

    LOL! First time I read this blog and I love it! :heart: I didn’t get my license until I was 28. Glad he conquered that particular demon early! :snoopy:

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