Blogging about life in Minnesota, raising our six kids with Down syndrome while battling Breast Cancer.

Be the kind of woman that when your feet hit the floor in the morning the devil says, "Oh shit! She's up!"

Tuesday, April 03, 2012


Angela is turning 16 in just 9 short weeks. I can hardly believe it. Neither can she because, like every other teenager I've had, she's been waiting FOREVER to get her driver's license.

When she sees a vehicle she likes (usually any model in blue or yellow) she announces, "I'm getting that car for my birthday." Other days she asks, "Am I getting a yellow truck for my birthday?"

I'm heartsick about this, really. I've never told her, "I'm sorry Angela, but you'll never be able to drive a car." (and she won't. You don't want a young lady with anger issues behind the wheel, believe me!) Instead I've always told her, "When you can pass the test, you can get your license."

You see, I've told her this to appease her, never thinking that she would HOLD me to this! Do you know what she wants to do for  her birthday? Yep, she wants to take that darned test. I'd rather be the one to tell her "No, you can't." than have her take that written test again and again only to fail each time. It would destroy her.

But I'll tell you what we WILL do for her birthday. We'll go to the DMV and apply for a state-issued ID card. It looks just like a driver's license only it states the person is not a legal driver. This ID card can be used any time proof of identity is needed. The one problem I can foresee is Angela will be convinced this thing IS a driver's license and decide she's going to drive somewhere. Our keys will be well hidden!

Do you know what will come next? Her 21'st birthday when she'll want to go bar hopping. 


Becca said...

Ah, yes, this is truly a difficult situation to be in. And I was thinking the same thing about the state-issued ID that *looks* like a license. Glad you're prepared to hide the keys. Good luck, Leah. I hope she is understanding when she realizes the reality. :-( Glad we have more time to figure this one out (Sammi's only 5).

Didn't you post once about Angela driving a golf cart to the store once without anyone knowing? I think that may have been one of the first posts I had read by you, and I remember thinking about the driving situation then.

Kathie Brinkman said...

Leah, you are a fabulous mom and I know you'll find the right approach for dealing with this issue with Angela.
We've taken a different approach with Katie. Now our Katie is much less assertive and single-minded than Angela, but whenever the driving topic has come up we've always told Katie that "Driving a car would not be a safe thing for you to do Katie, so you won't be learning how to do that. You're gonna learn how to do tons of other stuff, but just not driving a car." Now I know that there are people with DS who do drive, but driving a car is 1 of the things we have told Katie is not for her. We do let her drive go-carts in the summer (on a track) and she does ok with it but does still get stuck sometimes. This is a controversial issue--like marriage and becoming a parent--for our kids.

Cindy said...

We got Beth an ID card when she was 16. She loves that thing. Loves to pull it out at the bank, the store. Makes her feel important. :)

I actually took Beth for a test drive in a school parking lot. We discussed the rear view mirror, the brake, the ignition, the side mirrors... by the time she actually started the engine she was nervous, I was nervous, we only went once. She hasn't asked to do it again!

Lori & Family said...

Doesn't she have medical issues that would stop her from getting a DL maybe she will understand that better or not as insulting maybe.

Imogen said...

Aww Leah, these are issues I have never really pondered, not having a child with DS.

Also, regarding what Kathie commented on - marriage and children - again, these are issues I have never pondered. I guess I just assumed that all, if not most people with DS would be able to do these things. I'm naive to the realities I guess :(

Would you be able to write a post about some of the issues that young people with DS face as they enter adulthood? I.E. dating, marriage, university, having children, driving etc. I'd love to be better educated about it.

I love your children so dearly, as much as a stranger can. I have tears in my eyes over the bittersweetness of your post.