Monday, March 10, 2008

Rite of Passage...

There comes a time in a parent's life when he suddenly realizes those cute little children are no more. Lost inside that astoundingly large adolescent is the smiling little boy I knew. Oh, the smile is still there, but the package it comes in is huge.

On Friday, we went over to Claremore so he could take his driver's test. It was a fiasco. Jordan was understandably nervous. So was I but for different reasons. If he passed, I'd hear, "Can I have the keys, Dad?" no more than 50 or 60 times a day. If he failed, he'd have an ominously dark cloud hovering over his head, and he'd be a pain-in-the-butt to live with for a few days.

I needn't have worried. The State of Oklahoma in its infinite wisdom decided to change the rules for the driver's test. These days, you have to make an appointment in the morning for a test session later that same day. Neither of us knew that, so when we arrived at the testing center late Friday afternoon, Jordan was politely turned away. He was sullen about it for a while, but perked up later that evening.

But he complained loudly to She-Who-Must-Be-Obeyed, who came to me with a 'question' about calling the office promptly at 8AM on Monday. I dutifully set an alarm in both my cell phone and the laptop calendar program. I know better than to incur the wrath of She-Who-etc. Like a chameleon trying to fade into the background, I've adopted this dumb look as protective coloration.

This morning when the alarms went off, I began calling the exam office. I think the 'redial' icon is worn off my cell phone. Eventually I got through and made an appointment for late afternoon.

We drove to Claremore. Jordan chattered nervously. He fidgeted and asked questions about the test I'd taken at his age. At the office, he drummed his fingers and fidgeted some more until his name was called. He and the examiner walked out the door, got into the Ford, and in a moment, they were gone.

I said to the woman sitting in the next chair, "If he comes back with a big smile, he passed. If there's a scowl and a storm cloud, he failed."

Fifteen minutes later, the car pulled back into the parking lot. As Jordan got out, the woman said, "He passed!" He had an ear-to-ear grin that lasted all the way home.

Now, rather than skinned knees and a broken bicycle, I have other things to worry about. Every time he goes out the door to drive by himself, I'll turn up the volume on the scanner, hoping that I never hear anything about my boy.

That's not the end of my worries, however. In between the calls and text messages he sent to half a dozen girls on our way home, he received a call from a Marine Corps recruiter.



Blogger A Midnight Rider said...

The recruiter called my house once. Got my wife and we never heard from any of them again.

3:03 PM  

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