Monday, September 15, 2014

The Driver's License Question

I was thinking last night as I drove Thomas home from work at 10pm, why doesn't he have a driver's license? I think about how easy it is to get from his work to his home and back again and it seems pretty harmless. Then I remember the stress it used to cause him. Then I also remember that he's a 6 out of 10 for anxiety just to butter an English muffin. Could he even drive now? On occasion he talks about getting his license but he never follows through with it--finding out what he needs to do to get it. I have reminded him many times but at what point does my "mommying" stop and he takes over getting that done? The thing is, too, I'm not sure he'd really go anywhere if he did have a license, besides work. We have a little grocery store within walking distance that he rarely goes to for a snack so what else are his needs? He never wants to hang out with friends, or wants to but never seeks them out, he always waits for them to contact him. That one I have never understood. He WANTS to hang out with friends but he WON'T REACH OUT. Strange.

Let me outline the evidence for why I'm not on top of this driver's license thing and forcing the issue. When he was learning to drive, when he had his permit, he was a little more healthy than he is now. Not much though. In one day's practice, we came upon stopped cars at a light and the speed limit was 35 miles per hour and he maintained that 35 mph as he approached the stopped cars in front of us. I said to him,

"Thomas, watch out."

He was lost somewhere in his head.

"THOMAS!!"

Still lost not even acknowledging my voice or panic.

"THOMAS STOP!!!"

He stopped, but just shy of hitting the car in front of us. Perplexed, I asked him,

"What just happened there?"

"What?" came his reply.

"Did you not see the cars stopping in front of you?"

"I don't know." he said.

Huh, "I don't know"??? Does he really not know? Was he lost in that zone he appeared to be in and had I not said anything would he have rear-ended the people in front of him?

Then we crossed town and came to another light that I drive through with him frequently. Again, zone. Again I waited a second to see what would happen. Then

Whoosh! Through a red light!

Uh yeah. Okay, not cool. So okay, I let that go because I knew reprimanding him for what he had just done would stress him even more. I did ask him if he knew he blew the light and he said he didn't, he was unfazed. Then, we drove to his friend's house. We drove, but not in any way that made sense. I had driven him there a thousand times and he should have known the way yet he wound through back streets seemingly lost in a maze. When we got to his friend's house there was a bush hanging into the road and at as he pulled up to his friend's house he blew through that bush.

"Did you not see the bush?" I asked.

"Oh.....no....sorry."

So in the course of driving from one end of town to another, I had a kid lost somewhere in his head the entire way, we almost got in an accident, he blew through a red light and he got lost in the maze of neighborhoods instead of going the direct route. It wasn't good. It scared me and after that day I backed off of rushing him to get his license.

Then he got sick. Really sick. He was sedated most of his days and nights and he definitely didn't belong behind a wheel. So, since then I have left it alone telling him when he asked about getting a license that if he wants one he has to learn what he needs to do to get it--which entails calling or going to the DMV, picking up a book to study out of, making an appointment for a in-car driver's test and taking the written test. All things that are nearly impossible for him to do. I wonder though, am I depriving him of a young man's right for independence? Does he really WANT that independence? Remember the English muffin? Really, if he can't butter an English muffin without my help, or even "know how to" which, c'mon, do any of us need to "learn how to do that"? I know, I sound mean with what I'm saying. In fact, I feel a little mean saying it, but I guess I am just in that state of mind where I think I have a normal 19 year old kid living in my house who does not have schizophrenia and who should know how to do the most basic things without reaching a 6 on the anxiety scale.

I don't know........

I just don't want to be responsible for depriving him of his right to grow up, leave home, have a driver's license, live on his own, you name it. Sometimes I really look at myself and wonder,

"Am I keeping him home with me for selfish reasons?"

My answer to that is complicated. I want him free, I want my house to myself just me and my husband, I want Thomas successful but I just don't think he's ready. Will he ever be? Is this me keeping him home or is he here because he can't be "there", wherever "there" is that isn't here with me.

So, the driver's license. Should he get one, I ask myself? Not if our last experience is any indication. Not if he continues to drop the ball on even seeking out what it takes to get one. Frankly I'm scared. I will hold the insurance policy on him, he's bound to hit someone or something, I'm not sure there's a way to come back from that for him or for me. That first accident would be his last in my opinion.

For now, I am content dragging my butt out of my cozy warm chair at 10pm and driving, in my jammies, across town to pick him up and bring him home. He's safer that way for now.

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