Be careful out there.

Hailey is in that weird age of kids who had to learn how to drive in the middle of covid times, which meant that basically it was practically impossible. When I was getting my license I just walked in off the street for my driving test with a parent and my social security card. Hailey’s journey included driving classes, original forms, special online classes, and a two month wait to get an appointment at the DMV for their driving test.

They also needed their social security card, utility bills, proof of insurance, report card, car registration, application, an original copy of drivers ed completion, a certificate of Impact Training, my voters registration card, the ability to parallel park, a tuxedo cat born under a blood moon, a notarized photo of the ghost of your great grandmother, a three-inch section of your umbilical cord, your stripper name (your first pet’s name + the street you lived on), an unlisted object that changes depending on the wind direction, a zodiac chart showing the planets at the moment of birth, a doctor’s note if you’re a Sagittarius, a bottle of Taylor Swift’s laughter, the answer to a wizard’s ancient riddle. And $33 dollars.

A few of those are hyperbole but not as many as you’d think.

But as off this morning? This sweet summer child passed their final test and has their license:

And I’m feeling equal parts proud at how far they’ve come, angst at how quickly they will leave, and utter bewilderment at being exposed to Hailey’s musical playlist for so many hours of practice driving. Nothing prepares you to hear your sweet baby happily bopping away to Childish Gambino, raunchy Cabaret songs, and absolutely belting Billy Joel’s Zanzibar while flying down a country road.

Be careful out there. For me.

73 thoughts on “Be careful out there.

Read comments below or add one.

  1. Way to go Hailey! As someone who can’t drive due to a whole bunch of my brain is a hot dumpster fire of nothing works right reasons, I am infinitely aware of how hard driving can be. So that is a major accomplishments. 🙂

  2. My kid has been a new driver for 2 months. It’s weird to feel less needed as a limo/taxi driver. Both good and bad.

  3. The amount of info needed to get a driver’s license IS crazy. Congrats, Hailey! Enjoy your new freedom.

  4. I feel your pain. My middle kid just got his license a few weeks ago. Making an appointment took an act of GOD. My sweet little hermit has actually gone out WILLINGLY, so I think this is a good thing.

  5. My boy just turned 16 and is going get his learners in the next week or two. Gah!!!

    Congratulations to Hailey!!

  6. I remember my first attempt at getting a driver’s license was a disaster, because the evaluator at the DMV was freaking out over another drivers last minute change of direction and blamed me for not anticipating it. My second attempt I had another driver act crazy, too, and that evaluator was impressed with how calmly I handled it.
    It seems that everyone’s driving since Covid has gotten crazier, so if Hailey just anticipates that everyone else on the road is insane, they will be okay. Plus singing at the top of your lungs to music makes everyone else think you are crazy, so then they stay out of your way.

  7. Now, did they get a RealID? Because that’s another 100 hoops to jump through.

  8. Congrats Hailey!!! And also, I have to figure out how to stop laughing so hard my eyes won’t open. Cause it takes me forever to finish a Jenny Lawson paragraph. and I can’t breathe. I almost pass out from reading. Is that possible?

  9. Your description of needed documents/items is spot on, as I have now lived this twice. Child #1 was also a CovidTimes Driving Child, and Child #2 is now learning only slightly belatedly as I could only deal with one child learning to drive at a time. He randomly belts out Sweet Caroline, I am very proud. Child #3, well, we shall see, we have a few years yet. Thank goodness.

  10. Reminds me that I have the worst stripper name using the common formula: Dudley Rural Route 2.

  11. Yay! Our middle leaves for San Marcos in a month and our oldest doesn’t live at home (as she shouldn’t – she’s adulting at college), so my hubs and I are not looking forward to a year of driving our youngest to all the things she is involved in. She will get her permit at the end of August, but then it’ll be next August (almost September) until she can drive…and she will be a junior in high school. No fun! I haven’t had to do a lot of late night pickups or early morning dropoffs for about 5 years now…I haven’t missed it….lol

    (Hailey leaves for San Marcos in a month too. I’m not ready. But they are. 🙂 ~ Jenny)

  12. This is so funny cause I just did this today for a Learner’s Permit for my youngest (sigh.) I almost forgot my knife for the sacrificial bloodletting but they assured me they keep spares for that reason.

  13. Ooh, passenger does NOT get to choose the music! Unfortunately my car didn’t run at all if the driver was listening to rap music, funny thing about that.

  14. Same! My youngest got their license Saturday. They are so excited to run all the errands. I know that will get boring quickly, but I’m taking advantage of it while it lasts.

  15. Congrats to Hailey! And enjoy being chauffeured around every now and then. When I got my license, my brothers and I practically fought over who got to go get a gallon of milk for mom – any excuse to get to drive. Today, my son could care less about driving.

  16. Mine child is of the same era as yours…what a train wreck of a teenhood they endured. Those centuries of practice driving with her made for some sweet times, though, even if they were fraught with their share of white knuckle moments. I got to learn the music of all the Broadway shows she loves, hear the daily tea about school and life, and teach her that swearing at other drivers is ok because “road rage” is really just “road irritation” so long as no one gets knifed or driven off the road into a ditch.

    Heartbreaking as it is to think about them leaving, I absolutely adore this age. We raised some awesome people, and the world better be prepared for them because they are going to shine bright out there.

  17. Right there with you. My kid is 21 and we’re hoping they’ll get to take their road test in January. Their first written exam grade expired during covid. Then DMV shut down. Then it reopened as appointment only. They are away at college most of the year now. One day. One day. Congratulations, Hailey!

  18. Enjoy this honeymoon time when they’ll happily run errands for you if they can take the car 😉

  19. I have to drive my oldest an hour and a half tomorrow to renew his permit (they expire when they turn 18) because he’s not quite ready to take the final test. A local appointment isn’t available until November :|. We did parent taught drivers Ed and he has all his hours in and all his online courses and all that, just not ready for that final driving exam. So. Hour and a half to renew that permit so we can practice some more and get ready for the big driving test 🤪

    (We had to do the exact same thing. The good news though is that – if it’s like in texas – he’ll get an actual license this time but it’ll have a provision saying he can’t drive without someone over 21 in the car. So, the same as a permit but technically a license. Weird, but cool. ~ Jenny)

  20. Yay Hailey!! We, too jumped through seventy bazillion hoops to get Max’s learner’s permit, including THREE trips back and forth to the DMV to produce documents that no one in any prior trip mentioned we needed. THEN after all this, driver’s ed etc., the boy decided he didn’t want to drive. Fast forward FOUR years, he’s on his own, driving and living his best life. Whew.

  21. WHAT? You didn’t have to provide rainbow puke from a unicorn?? California must have different requirements. When I took my test in Texas back in 1847 (I was only 15 because my mother lied to the court and said I had to get to a job to help with the bills – so not true, she was too busy with her career to drive a whiny teenager around), I performed everything perfectly, then bumped the curb turning right back into the DMV. The instructor told me he should fail me, but since I had AC and it was a hot day, he was sure it was a one-time mistake he could overlook. I’ve never looked back.

  22. Did you do your driving test in Wall? DPS came to Sterling City but that was the 70’s. Did Wall even have a 4way stop? We had to parallel park between portable school crosswalk signs set up for the test. 😎

    (I did it in San Angelo. They didn’t offer in Wall. 🙂 ~ Jenny)

  23. Congratulations Hailey!!! Now comes the evil part of driving. Car insurance!
    Don’t be afraid of it. Just remember to sacrifice a rutabaga under the blood moon and dance the dance of ‘Men In Hats’. Then sip on tea with honey.
    You’ll be fine!

  24. I had to be in the car with my daughter but was not allowed to talk to her or she automatically failed. This was the solution so the test people (can’t remember what they are called) didn’t have to ride during Covid. I silently watched my daughter drive straight into the cones leading into the maneuverability section.

  25. My father told me I needed to take at least 45 minutes to do the written test because the car was overheating on the way up and he was afraid if I didn’t give it time to cool down they would fail me on the driving part for bringing defective equipment to the test. Spoiler alert: I passed. 🙂

  26. The notarized photo of grandma’s ghost took me out… 🤣🤣🤣

  27. The first 6 months of my older child’s having her license was pure bliss. She did all the errands, all the grocery shopping, etc., just to get the chance to drive the car, while I sat back and relaxed. Didn’t last, but it was sweet for a time!

  28. I feel this in my soul. My middle child used to play a game called the “tap out game” where I listen to her music, and we wait until I “tap out” on that music. Don’t tell her but my favorite part was when she’d lean in close and belt out those tunes in my ear. I a happy for them and wish them the very best in life.

  29. Congratulations to Hailey! I had to take the driving test after letting my license expire (one of the things that go due to depression is taking care of stuff like that). I failed driving 2 cars that didn’t belong to me. I finally brought my car, which had a funky horn that only worked when the steering wheel was turned, and I passed finally!

  30. Puppy Rosser or Puppy Polly are both terrible stripper names. At least my childhood street is slightly better.

    (*Our beagle mix had another name, but she never learned it and went answered to “Puppy” until she went deaf.)

  31. Congrats Hailey! I’m in the same boat with my kid. How the hell is she supposed to have a utility bill when she is 16 and lives at home?? And boy, were they standing on that hill.

  32. When I got my California Real I.D. driver’s license it was even worse. Tell her to never change her surname!

    Renewed my license last Monday (turning 70); appointment wait was only 6 weeks. Guess when you’re older there is some concern you won’t live long enough to to pay the fees.

    Stripper name: Fuzzy-Wuzzy Shaddox.

  33. Now the time will really fly. It felt like Monday I helped my kid get his driver’s license and that Friday went to his college graduation (in fact 6 years had passed in those 5 days)…

  34. Congratulations to you both! Another right of passage into adulthood for them, and another sign of the good parenting that you and Victor provide. (Ok, my stripper name-by your formula-is Smoky Birch. Not sure if it’s icky or cool!)

  35. Congratulations Hailey!! My partner got their license during covid times, and it is definitely a challenge. May you be safe!

  36. Alli: “We raised some awesome people, and the world better be prepared for them because they are going to shine bright out there.” That’s all that gives me hope. If our kids can hold on until the rest of us die off, they’ll make this world shiny and new.

    Erika Martin: Vogons. Too right.

    Will someone please explain the stripper-name formula to me?

    Here’s what I love about the phrase “Mazel Tov!” It can mean “Good luck” in that cheery way that signifies an actual wish for things to go well or in that ominous way that portends anxiety about possible outcomes or can be used for “Congratulations!” It can also mean all those things at once. So ——

    Mazel tov, Jenny, Victor, and Hailey!

  37. My youngest child, 16yo, got his license yesterday. His older sister went through it during the pandemic, much like Hailey. And I understand the requirements, they took drops of actual blood from me yesterday along with my file of paperwork & sacrificial offerings. And $116. What are you planning on doing with your free time of not driving Hailey around? I feel kind of lost now.

    (I’m spending my extra time worrying about them driving. Totally healthy. ~ Jenny)

  38. Congrats! I failed my first test. I drove over the parking lines after pulling out of the spot. The instructor said if there was a car there, I would have hit it, so I failed. I told her if there was a car there, I obviously would not have tried to drive through it. I figured any open space where I would not hit a car was fair game. I was wrong.

  39. Hello! I like your posts – all of them, but either my computer or something else won’t react when I click the “Like” button. Good job, Hailey! Guardian angels, stay alert!

  40. My oldest got her permit in March. She’s my careful one and it’s still terrifying, but yeah, lots more rules than there were 30 years ago.

  41. I got my license the first time I applied for it, but I’m pretty sure it’s because I waited till I was 20 and none of my friends wanted to haul my ass around anymore.

  42. Please refer to me as Happy Turtleback from now on. I’ve also sent out word to my friends who hand trucker friends to dryer clear off San Antonio or use extreme caution if they hear Childish Gambino.

  43. There’s nothing like the first time you watch them drive away. Without you. In your car.

  44. Kudos to you and Hailey!

    Back in the dark ages of 1991, having had a learner’s permit for 15 months including taking optional driver’s ed (GA decided in 1983 that mandatory driver’s ed in school wasn’t necessary since we’d all learned to drive on a tractor or in daddy’s farm truck), my mom found it necessary for me to finally get my license because she needed me to chauffeur my brothers around because dad was out of town at a funeral and mom had an important mandatory work meeting. Since I flew through the written test with flying colors and had taken driver’s ed, they just had me drive around the block. The other girl taking her test at the same time who had skipped the whole learner’s permit thing and had to try to parallel park her grandmother’s 1970s land yacht. Needless to say, she didn’t pass.

  45. Oh and my stripper name is either Gracie Laura Lane or Gracie Alexander…not bad

  46. Congrats and kudos to Hailey on their new license! I don’t get this generation’s general disinterest in driving. When I was turning 16 we got ours either on our actual bday for an extra $10 or the day after for the regular fee, like my parents insisted was fine. My nephew’s parents made him start driving when he enrolled in a university in the next town and there was no public transportation option. I literally got my very first grey hair while teaching my daughter to drive in 2004-05, but she was an excellent driver and still is to this day. Except when she drives too fast with my three grandcuties in the car and then she needs to slow her ass down! My new stripper name is Bubbles James, and I’m going to start using it on all my social media!

  47. 🎉🌟😺 Congratulations Hailey!!!
    Love your awesomeness!
    (And absolutely must have your glasses frames! )
    Praying for hedges of protection!!!

  48. Congratulations to Hailey! They look so happy.

    Also, I hope this means that y’all adopted that tuxedo cat? 🐈‍⬛

  49. I tried to get my Real ID 4 years ago when I went to renew my license. I apparently forgot my tuxedo cat (or rather, a notice TO YOU at YOUR ADDRESS from THE DMV is not adequate proof of residence) and could only get the standard renewal. So I took a rather angry photo for my license. This year, when I had to renew again I just did it by mail, so I could keep angry picture for 4 more years.

    My kid got her Real ID license pretty easily, in contrast. And sometimes, she’ll put on her “Mom’s driving and irritated by music I like” Playlist when we’re going somewhere.

  50. Well done Hailey! I know how ridiculous the ID requirements are and how awful the wait times were. After years of battling crippling anxiety, I finally passed my driving test this year too!

  51. Congrats Hailey!
    You always make me smile with your funny descriptions and hyperboles. Thank you for that. Have a great week!

  52. My youngest just legally changed his name so when he finally gets his driver’s license it’s going to be an even longer process.So I feel your pain

  53. I am in AWE at their stripper name possibilities … for example, Hunter S Tomcat Street would surely provide discreet but very particular performances for the discerning client …

  54. Is that for a standard Texas driver’s license or is it for the Real ID? California started offering the Real Id variant a few years ago. If you don’t have that, you need to show a passport even for domestic flight. California didn’t ask for proof of residence before that.

    I personally find that frustrating as the household bills are in my husband’s name, which is not the same as mine. I pay my bills online so I don’t have hard copy coming in the mail. I also think it’s somewhat discriminatory as there’s no reason an unhoused person shouldn’t be able to get a Real ID.

    (I think this is just for a regular license. I could be wrong. ~ Jenny)

  55. Susi Strong could also be a female boxer or wrestler – i’ll take that over stripper anytime. 😀

  56. Wow, I can relate to Hailey’s challenges in getting her driver’s license during the pandemic. It’s incredible how the process has changed over the years. Back when I was learning to drive, it was much simpler. Times change, right? Congrats to Hailey on passing her final test! As mentioned in the article, it must be a mix of emotions for you. Wishing her safe travels on the road!

  57. You always deliver on making the so called mundane moments in life hilarious and touchingly wonderful!

  58. They are 18 right? So no need for a provisional driver license. That learner permit crap was crazy – had to record all the hours for training. Congratulations and welcome to expensive insurance. 😉

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