Just call me ‘one-eyed mommy’

I can’t really see out of my left eye.

Never have.

Never will.

It’s not a huge deal. Used to suck that I couldn’t see 3D movies, but the technology changed and now I can. Turns out I wasn’t missing much.

I’m lucky that my eye tracks, looks fairly normal and doesn’t bother me. I can tell when I look in the mirror and in photographs of myself, but it’s not super noticeable.

Not really a big deal.

Well, it wasn’t a big deal.

Last month my driver’s license came up for renewal. I haven’t been into the DMV since my teen years, just always renewed online. This time they required me to come in. Super annoying, but that’s bureaucracy.

After failing the eye exam with my bum eye, as I knew I would, the lady says I need to get my eye doctor to fill out a special form that allows me to drive. I did that years ago, but they have no record of it. Another annoyance, but I smile and move forward.

After all, I am a ridiculous rule follower at heart and I know how to play the game. Smile. Nod. Jump through the hoops.

I drop the form off for my doctor and wait the 7-10 days it takes for it to be filled out. Once ready, I pick up the form, wait for just under an hour at the DMV with my kids in tow, and finally hand it over.

“Not good enough,” the woman says without looking up.

“Excuse me?” I say with a smile.

Clearly I heard her wrong.

“We are going to need you to take a behind the wheel test,” she says. She follows this with a big exhausted sigh.

“Say that again?” I say.

She finally looks up and explains that for “people like you we need proof that you are a safe driver.” I make an appointment to come back in two weeks to prove I can drive with one eye.

“Might have to give you a provisional license.”

“Might need you to take the test every time you renew now.”

Tears come and I am pissed. I swallow hard and brush them away. Don’t cry Bridgette. Don’t make a scene. It’s not her fault.

“The DMV is black and white,” she says. “I’m sorry. There is no gray area.”

I look in her eyes and decide she probably is sorry. Her job sucks, but in that moment I don’t care. I want to smash her face.

I gather my form up and walk to the car. The second the van door shuts I start to sob. Big, holy shit sobs.

What the fuck am I going to do if they take my license?

“Mommy, are you OK?” my girl says from the backseat. “I’ve never seen you this upset.”

“No,” I said. “I am not. I will be, but right now I am upset.”

She unbuckles her seatbelt and touches my shoulder. My boy follows her example. We sit there like that for a few minutes, me sobbing while my children comfort me.

Eventually I snap to it, wipe away my tears and move forward. I think we got ice cream.

It’s been almost two weeks and my test is tomorrow.

I am not good.

My anxiety is at Threat Level Orange, and I’m really not being nice to anyone in my path today.

It is completely ridiculous.


Of course it’s going to be OK. I know how to drive. I’m certainly a better driver than when I was 16. I have nothing to worry about.


The fear is so great that I’m finding it hard to move today. I want to crawl back in bed and sob into my pillow and it really has nothing to do with the actual test.

It has everything to do with losing my freedom.

My entire ability to care for my family is wrapped up in my car. We live 25 minutes from school. We live 20 minutes away from my nearest friend. Without wheels I am trapped.

No car=no life.

I know that seems melodramatic. It is.

But I’m scared to death of going blind and being dependent on others.

I don’t like to ask people for help. I don’t want someone having to help me with anything. Ever.

So tomorrow is a big deal for me.

And then there is my grandma Kate.

I keep flashing to the day we had to take my grandmother’s license away. She was in her late 80s and had started having dementia. She had got lost several times and drove onto a curb. It wasn’t safe for her to drive anymore. I knew it. She knew it. But actually going through with taking away her car was horrible.

I still remember her crying.

She knew that was the end of her freedom.

She knew it meant she had to rely on someone to do everything for her now.

She knew it meant defeat.

I felt her pain then, but I feel it even more now. I keep seeing that look on her face and I want to go back in time and hug her even tighter. I want to hold her and say, “I love you grandma. I’m sorry.”

I was in my 20s at the time and I was exhausted at taking care of her. I was frustrated that she wouldn’t see that she was being unsafe and selfish. I became impatient with her. I tried to understand, but how could I?

Getting old sucks.

Losing your freedom at any age sucks.

I think about friends I have right now that have to rely on others to do things for them either because they are battling cancer or because they have a disability. I think about how much freedom they have lost and I feel like an ass, a selfish and stupid ass.

Even so, I’m still scared shitless about tomorrow.

My husband suggested going in whistling, “Always Look on the Bright Side of Life.”

Not likely.

A friend suggested dressing and acting like a teenager from the 90s.

That would be fun, but I’m too chicken.

Oh, I got it!

When the fear starts to grip me, I’m going to remember this picture of my crazy, pirate of a son.


“Me eyes….oh not me eyes!!”

Yes. That will do.

14 thoughts on “Just call me ‘one-eyed mommy’

  1. I felt your anxiety just reading that. It would be scary, the idea of not being able to drive your kids places, have the independence you’ve always taken for granted. I’m sure you’re right and the road test will be fine. I won’t tell you not to worry because it won’t do any good — because you already know it won’t do any good, and knowing something doesn’t mean we don’t do it anyway.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Take deep breathes – you will pass and you will continue to drive but please know we love your writings – so real – so honest – take care and know there are hundreds behind you rooting for you.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. My anxiety peaked about an hour before the test. I drove all around the neighborhood of the test “practicing” my driving, which is ridiculous on so many levels. I began to freak out about the three roundabouts and the railroad tracks that I was certain I would do incorrect.

    When I pulled into the DMV, the tester looked at me and said, “so, what’s this all about?” I told him how they lost the original paperwork about my eye condition, that it’s the same as it has been from birth, but that they are requiring this behind the wheel vision test.

    “I don’t think they had computers when you took your test the first time,” he said with a big smile.

    That was the first of many, many jokes. As we drove around the neighborhood, I forgot all about the test. We talked about his family, books, music and food. We laughed a lot. He never looked at the clipboard and he barely gave me directions.

    When we pulled back into the DMV he smiled and said, “I see no issue here.”

    Perfect score!

    I walked up to the counter and the man there smiled, laughed and said with an apologetic shrug, “sorry about all that and thanks for your compliance.”

    It was such a funny anti-climatic moment.

    I am fine.

    My freedom is in tact.

    Now what to do with it??

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I’m not sure why you don’t see out of one eye, but if it is because of a “lazy eye” it can be fixed, even as an adult. I am a behavioral optometrist and help people see and get depth perception. Watch the TED talk by Susan Barry and if you are interested look up someone on COVD.org website.


    • Very intrigued Mikki. It was originally a lazy eye as a kid, but I’ve been told by many eye doctors that it is now a brain issue and that it will never work again. Looking up that TED talk now. It would be amazing to have some answers.


  5. Good luck. Due to many reasons I don’t drive. Somehow I managed three children. No license=life for me. I wish you the best. I know a man with one working eye who drives. I’m sure you’ll be fine.


  6. Pingback: Turn and face the strange – Bridgette Tales

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