I Could Have Helped Him.

We started the summer with a list of things for which Dylan would be responsible. On the list were things like feeding his hermit crabs, wearing his retainer, studying for the SATs, and telling me when he was ready to go to work or voice lessons or whatever – things he should have been doing for the past several years.

Dylan was supposed to make his own appointment for the learner’s permit test – which, technically, he did. Unfortunately, Dylan only made the appointment after his father showed Dylan exactly what website to visit, and pointed him directly to the correct form to fill out. (To say that I am still angry about Bill “helping” would be an understatement.)

On the day before the learner’s permit test, I realized that Dylan wasn’t quite as prepared as he needed to be.

For one thing, he took the Driver’s Ed class a full year ago. Dylan hadn’t looked at his book or studied his notes since July of 2016. I mentioned this to him.

“All of my friends said the test is really, really easy,” Dylan told me. “And most of them took it before they even took the class, so I know I don’t need to study.”

After chiding him for a few minutes, Dylan finally said, “Well, I was planning to study a little bit.”

Just before he went to bed, he took a sample test online.

At the end of the sample test, the website suggested that he print out a list of the things he would need to take to the appointment: a U.S. passport, a pay stub bearing the applicant’s name and full social security number, and a checking or savings account statement signed by a parent. Additionally, he was supposed to provide a document to prove that he is a dependent of said parent. The Department of Motor Vehicles requires these documents for proof of identity.

Dylan ignored that.

Dylan also had an email sitting in his email inbox for two weeks, which outlined those essential items. Dylan didn’t compile any of the required documents. In fact, he didn’t seem to know that he needed them.

He chose the documents that he wanted to submit. He filled out the form. And the email generated by the form went directly to his email address.

But he didn’t even consider getting those documents ready.

I could have helped him. I could have said, “Gee Dylan, don’t you think you should get your paperwork together?” That’s what I’ve been doing for 16 years. Instead I said, “Will you be 100% ready to go by 9:30 in the morning?”

Dylan assured me that he would be ready. And I knew perfectly well that he would not be ready.

I also knew we’d be driving to the DMV for no real reason.

But this is my point about responsibility: you must be responsible for yourself or you are not being responsible at all.

So, knowing that Dylan hadn’t done what he needed to do, I agonized. I tossed and turned all night, and had nightmares that they didn’t ask for his proof of residence, but they let him drive anyway. My alarm blasted on the morning of the appointment, with me drenched in sweat.

Dylan slept straight through his appointment.

We didn’t even go to the DMV, so he doesn’t even know he wasn’t prepared to take the test.

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