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DMV Adventures: Trying To Apply For A New Driving License

Am I the only mom of a teenager who gets blamed for everything? Somehow, it’s my fault that my daughter has a late birthday and is the last one of all her friends to get her driver’s license. Her birthday is in the fall and, apparently, “ALL of her friends already have their license.” I would have taken her to the DMV the day she turned 16, but she couldn’t miss band or sports practice.

OK. I felt a little sorry for her, so when a fluke snowstorm demolished the Northeast this autumn, I took pity on her and told her to print out the 30-page permit booklet and get in the car. She could read it on the way to the DMV to apply for a new driving license. Of course, the one nearest to us was closed due to the storm, but an office 45 minutes away happened to be open.

Needless to say, the drive took us longer than 45 minutes. And she thought I was crazy to leave the house during this blizzard. But she couldn’t blame me for not helping her to get this whole driver’s license process moving in the right direction.

Paperwork at the DMV

We had to bring two dated pieces of mail with her name on it for the driving license application. We had a lot of college recruiting post cards with her name on it. They had dates of upcoming events printed on it. But I guess this didn’t count as the kind of date the DMV was looking for. And we brought mail from her doctor, but the envelope only had her first initial and therefore, was also invalid.

I thought she was going to kill me. And, truthfully, I already felt like I was having a heart attack. When they saw the sharp daggers coming from my daughter’s eyes–and that they were pointed right at me–and then they watched as I started to sweat and stammer, the DMV lady behind the window tossed us a life line. She would use my driver’s license as a piece of mail and count our insurance card, too.

But where do I keep my insurance card? Thank God I’ve never had to look for it before. It must be in my wallet, right? (I wondered to myself.) No such luck. It’s got to be in the car. But where? This is the mom-mobile, you know. I’ve got food, water, books, Benadryl, my yoga mat, stuff from work, repair receipts, coupons, feminine hygiene products, a spare sweat shirt–everything that anyone could ever need or want. But where the hell is the insurance card? And what does it look like?

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It was freezing cold outside and of course, I slipped on the ice in the parking lot near my car. But I wasn’t giving up now. I did what any self-confident, modern, adult woman would do. That is, I called my husband, practically crying, but definitely screaming. “I just fell on my ass at the DMV and I can’t find the ?*!@*! car insurance card!”

“It’s always lovely to hear from you, Honey. Pardon my ignorance, but I don’t think an insurance card is going to help with a fall. Where are you and why are you out in this weather?”

“We’re at the DMV right near where you work. Everything was working out great because no one else was here. I’ve never seen the DMV so empty and she passed the test, so everything was wonderful until they rejected our mail. That’s why we need an insurance card and I can’t find it.

“Doesn’t’ it seem like these things only happen to you? But nothing really surprises me with you any more. The insurance card is in the back of that plastic envelope with our oil change and car repair records.”

By this time, steam is coming from Emily’s ears and my hands are shaking. But, thankfully, we left the DMV with her permit in hand.

You can only imagine how well prepared we were when, six months later, after countless hours of driving with parental supervision, Driver’s Ed and eight hours of driving lessons with the instructor, we had to go back to the DMV to get her driver’s license. Actually, I am afraid that you must wait for that story. I’m too emotionally exhausted from the experience of recalling the permit process. Stay tuned for DMV Adventure #2 – coming soon.

Valerie Newman lives in Connecticut with her husband and two kids. When Valerie started mixing up her kid’s college applications with her mother’s nursing home applications, she knew she was part of the sandwich generation.

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