It is a beautiful fall day here in Oklahoma.
The kids are on Fall Break. I used to love the fall and spending time with them. I still love spending time with them but the triggers of fall are exhausting.
I’m taking my youngest son to get his drivers permit today. He could have gotten it this summer but I’ve been dragging my feet. Not because I don’t want him to drive and grow up…okay maybe a little. The main reason? Huge trigger…
I took my oldest son for his permit, and after he passed we celebrated with ice cream. It was cold, but we didn’t care we stopped for ice cream because weather be damned, it was a big deal. I remember laughing with him on the way home, and feeling sad, yet so happy at the young man he had become.
My middle son struggled passing his test, he took a couple tries to get his permit. This pushed back him getting his license till after school had started. I had to take him several times to pass the driving part too. I was so frustrated…I had a toddler and sitting at the driver’s license office with him for hours several times made me want to scream. He finally passed on his third try. I was so stinking relieved and happy that I had been able to take him.
It was a tradition by this time, I took my boys to get their permits, it had become a rite of passage. On the way home from getting my middle sons permit we stopped and picked up Lou and my youngest son from their grandma’s house. It was a pretty fall day, warm and sunny, much like today. My middle son drove us home, and was fighting with my youngest son.
My youngest son had taught Lou to say “We are’s all gonna die“, and together they repeated it over and over as the middle one drove. My youngest protested having to ride to school with him. He assured us all he’d rather take the bus, then take a chance with his brother’s driving. I just sat in the passenger’s seat shaking my head. Nothing, not the fighting, or the chaos could get to me, I had just passed another hurdle in helping my son get his license. I was happy at the thought of being able to let Lou sleep in, and not having to get her up to take them to school in the morning. I was going to get to have a cup of coffee in peace, I was happy.
“Don’t forget to check the mail…” I reminded my son as he went to pull up the drive.
“Don’t hit the mailbox!!!” yelled my youngest from the back seat.
“”We’s gonna die!!” Laney shrieked from beside him.
“I swear I’m going to kill him!!! He’s not riding with me anymore!!” My middle son threw open the lid and handed me the mail.
I remember seeing Valdez Ak, as the return address and wondering why my husband had sent me a letter. I set the other mail to the side and opened it. By the top of the driveway all air was gone and my hands shook. I told my youngest to get his sister, walked inside, went straight to my room and shut the door. It was how my nightmare started and my life ended.
The two are now co-mingled, the memory of my son getting his license and me getting my “Letter from the whore”. I can’t remember one without the other.
The mere act of driving past the building a couple months later, gave me a panic attack. I always thought panic attacks were for drama filled whiny ass women…who knew they were real. I couldn’t catch my breath, started shaking, and made my husband drive on. We couldn’t stop to get the forms we needed, and he finally had to pull over as I sat hyperventilating and crying hysterically.
Today I’m taking my youngest son to get his driver’s permit. My husband doesn’t know, he has offered to take him. He might not know every trigger I live with, but he remembers the office is a huge one. Thing is? My son didn’t ask his dad to take him, he asked me to. He asked me to do for him what I had done for his brothers.
I feel the anxiety starting at the thought of going into the office building.
I am all out of excuses not to take him, he has the forms, he has the time, he is ready.
I will not let my husbands selfishness take away my time with my son.
I will not let the lingering scent of whore tarnish this day.
I will not check the mail on the way home.
I’m trying to be brave today, but even I have my limits.
“It was just an old worn out Jeep
Rusty old floorboard, hot on my feet
A young girl two hands on the wheel
I can’t replace the way it made me feel
And he’d say, “turn it left and steer it right,
Straighten up girl, you’re doing just fine”
Just a little valley by the river where we’d ride
But I was high on a mountain
When daddy let me drive”