This morning my favorite (youngest/only) daughter got her driver’s license.
I remember getting mine as if I was the one behind the wheel a few hours ago. I took my test in a red Ford Escort with a manual transmission, back in the day when you still had to parallel park to earn that plastic. I had plans that weekend, plans that relied on me passing that test.
I remember the front wheel kissing the curb as I straightened up after parking, and my heart sank. If I was directed right after I pulled out of the parking space, that meant I had passed. A left meant disappointed friends and another boring weekend, trapped at the whim of parents who were sick of driving me around. I pulled the car out of the space and brought the front bumper parallel to the stop sign, expectantly looking at the test administrator. With a bit of a sigh, he pointed right.
I couldn’t watch The Kid as she began her test today. Mr. Tyrone walked the perimeter of the car, asking her to turn on various lights, and I couldn’t remember if she actually knew where the hazard lights were (or how to turn them on). She was spacey as we drove to her appointment, and I was just worried in general.
It’s no small thing, this putting your kid in the world and hoping for the best. It’s not just the lack of control over what they do; it’s the lack of control over what everybody else does. No one can be forced to treat your kid well.
No one gives a rat’s ass if you think they are amazing or if you did your best.
Mostly, from birth until you stop posting family selfies and ridiculous updates all over your social media, most people in the world are simply humoring you and your obsession with your child.
It’s okay. We are built to be the center of our own universe. We can’t expect everyone to feel the same way about the things we care most about.
The one person who would have cared at least as much as me, beyond just a regular, garden-variety well-wishing, is sitting on the top shelf of my closet in a little wooden box.
When Dane died, Luke Bryan released “Drink A Beer,” a song that nearly killed me at that point in my grief. It was a country song, but we were in Georgia, and if I am being honest, Dane was more than a little bit country. Nevermind the “good lord” references; that’s beside the point.
This song has been reverberating in my head since I handed Sicily her own key on a tooth-shaped key chain. As I type this and listen to various versions of it, I miss him. I miss Sicily’s father. I miss him because of her, and I miss him because of me. He would have been so proud today, and he would have cried as she drove away to spread these new wings of hers.
Neither of us are/were the praying kind, but I would be dishonest if I didn’t admit to sending something into the universe about protecting my heart as she drives to her next adventure/heartbreak/triumph/devastation.
After we spent a little more time in the company of the delightful folks at the MVA, Sicily drove us down to Jimmy’s in Fell’s Point for breakfast. I spent many drunk and hungover mornings with my friend Luke at the old Formica counter in Jimmy’s, drinking draft Budweiser so cold that it had thin sheets of ice floating at the top.
It doesn’t even shock me that I didn’t realize the Luke Bair (my friend)/Luke Bryan (that singer) connection until that last sentence came out of my fingers, or that I just randomly suggested breakfast at Jimmy’s to celebrate.
I didn’t get a beer because a beer at 9:30 might send the wrong message to my newly-licensed driver, but if any day warrants a drink, today is it.
Perhaps it should be a little forlorn, today’s drink, but grief takes it out of me so that I can’t even muster the strength to be forlorn. I made up this little cocktail over the summer but didn’t set it down until yesterday. #Foreshadowing
I know there is a drink with the same name, but this is not that, and I am certainly open to alternative suggestions.
Raising a glass tonight to myself, my sweet new driver, and my beloved husband who would have been so proud and is still very missed.
The Angry Mule
4 cups vodka
5 or 6 jalapeños
Ginger beer (I like Gosling’s. Anything but ginger ale. #Heresy)
PLAN AHEAD. Make your vodka by chopping up the jalapeños and placing them in a clean quart jar. Cover with vodka. Include the seeds. Let sit in a cool, dark place until you can’t wait anymore. A couple days, a week. Or just give it a taste. You may find it’s too spicy and want to add more vodka (see below).
Strain into a clean jar.
Fill a pint glass with ice. Add two ounces of vodka, then ginger beer almost to the top. Splash of pineapple juice, a little stir, and you’re in business.
- The batch of jalapeño vodka I currently have working is actually bright green. This is a very, very good thing. This means that I can cut this batch with even more vodka and have even more jalapeño-infused vodka. #HellYes
My sweet baby. Jazz hands and potato chips at two years old. Not much has changed.