Ruining August 4th
August 4th has always been a very special day for me. It's the day my son was born and there's just something about that; I feel like it has to be special for not just my son but for my husband and myself. It marks the most important day of our lives; the day when our family truly began. I don't say that lightly and I know my husband feels the same. We began on August 4th.
One of the last things my mother feared before she died was that she would ruin my son's birthday. I told her she wouldn't. In all honesty, her death did put a damper on things. What also put a damper on things was the looming driver's test that was scheduled for 8 this morning. I have long thought that it was a bad practice to have the test on your birthday because if you don't pass it ruins the day. It beyond ruins the day and I can say that with conviction.
His appointment was at 8, but there were at least six cars that went before him. He is a pretty good driver, but nobody parallel parks anymore. (At least the people I know; I am sure that somewhere out there someone does). Furthermore technology (if you can afford it), will do it for you. Apparently my son went off and was doing fine and parallel parked fine. Then the MVC employee told him to pull out and he did, gently tapping the cone and that was that.
So by 8:30, my son who has flawlessly spoken at his grandmother's graveside service, was devastated. He stood there, sunglasses hiding his eyes, and went with us as we scheduled another appointment. He sat waiting, wearing those glasses. He said nothing and we waited. When we were finally called we were told the next appointment at this particular facility was in January of 2023. We got an appointment in November at another location (first one down at the shore and then later I found one a bit closer just before Thanksgiving).
We walked out and my son sat stoically in the back of the car. I knew he was broken inside. He said nothing. I could see his cheeks were wet, but he said nothing. I dropped him off at work and he went in without a word to work a full day in the heat.
As I drove away, I finally let my tears flow. Not because he didn't pass. The test can be taken over. But at the fact that this day had been marred. After all that he (and indeed the rest of the family) has been through, he deserved something more.
Because I did not know what he would want, I didn't make a fuss over the day before we left and I certainly did not when he returned. The happy birthday signs are left in the basement. The cake (I bought it) remains in the fridge because he didn't feel like it. I get it.
This experience has worn me too. Perhaps this was the cap to it all because I'll admit that I've been crying off and on all day. Full on ugly and uncontrollable crying. I tried not to when I sat in the Bank of America and tried to close out my mother's account. (A process that is much less painful at TD Bank, which is why I will probably end up moving my own accounts there...not that they will miss me or my money.) My issues with Bank of America are for another day and another (ugly) blog post. But I have to be honest, I'm tired of all the empty "sorry for your loss" that I hear over and over again, when they are just words and have no real meaning. (Friends, I KNOW when you send your condolences they have meaning because of how they are said or written and they have comforted me.) A few tears may have welled up as I signed forms and tried to be patient as I was told I would be assigned a case manager (what the actual?) and that getting a check made out to her estate could take a few weeks or a few months. (WHAT the ACTUAL?)
I wore sunglasses like my son as I ran to the grocery store to pick up the cake and a few last minute items for a dinner of sandwiches (because it was too hot for the special pot roast dinner that my son had requested). I held it all back until I got in the car and I fell apart again.
I worked throughout the day, but in the middle of putting together a proposal I broke down again. My day was punctuated with sobbing jags before returning to the laptop and answering emails.
My son has bounced back. He worked. I picked him up. He opened cards, he opened presents. It was all a bit flat. As I write this he's just gone out to be with friends and I hope they will be kind to him. Because he needs kindness.
If he has bounced back, why haven't I? Why am I still struggling as I sit here this evening? It's more than just not passing a road test. It's more than dealing with institutions that offer pithy sayings and roadblocks. It's more...
This has been a lousy August 4th. The lousiest I can remember and I hate it. Because I want this day to be special again. I want my son to feel good and to know that this IS a special day because he is in it.
Maybe next year? Maybe next year.