Dear Mr. Driving Examiner in the Blue Ford Fiesta,

I’m Lily Brubaker’s dad. If you don’t remember, you failed her on her driving test yesterday, and I got really angry.

I’m sorry for jabbing my finger in your face like that. I shouldn’t have yelled at you or called your hat “dumb.” But I had no choice. Please let me explain.

When my daughter told me that you flunked her for “lurching” the car forward too quickly, I was so overwhelmed with relief, that I ran over to you to give you a big hug. But then I remembered that Lily was watching me, so I had to act like I was furious. Admittedly, I may have gone too far when I tossed your cowboy hat on the ground and stomped on it. (Sorry, didn’t realize it was made of straw and would crunch like that.)

You can’t imagine the stress I’ve been going through. It’s a well-known fact that a person’s brain isn’t fully developed until the age of twenty-five. I’ve been worried sick that Lily’s going to text or drive impaired and get in a crash. Teens have no impulse control, and that’s why I had to totally lose my shit on you.

While driving to the test, Lily looked at a pimple in the rearview mirror and nearly sideswiped a truck. You were the last line of defense between my kid and potential disaster, and you did your job. I will forever be grateful.

Don’t get me wrong, I know Lily’s going to be a safe, responsible driver. And then she won’t need me anymore to provide guidance, offer assurance, or scream “AHHHHHH!” And also, I’ll never see her again.

I don’t know if you have kids or not, but teenagers want nothing to do with their parents. So it’s been wonderful to spend so much time with her these past few months. Granted, she was required to be with me for forty hours of supervised driving time, but I’ll always treasure this time of enforced togetherness. We shared our favorite music, drove by our old house, and talked about all the great times we used to have together before she hit puberty and started ghosting me.

I used to be her best bud. We played Chutes and Ladders, went on bike rides, and painted our toenails pink. Frankly, I wasn’t prepared for her to grow up so quickly, or try driving with her eyes closed just to “see what it was like.”

I’ve tried to convince Lily that it’s going to take forty more hours of driving time to smooth out that little “lurching” problem, but she’s insisting on taking the test again in two weeks. That’s not enough time! We have so much more to talk about before she boots me out of my own car and completely stops talking to me.

I could suddenly have unfortunate “scheduling issues” that force me to keep pushing off the driving test. Or I could talk to a mechanic about making the gas pedal on my car a little more “sensitive” to the slightest touch.

You wouldn’t be open to a special “arrangement,” would you? I’ll buy you a real cowboy hat if you fail her again, which means I’ll probably have to yell at you and stomp on it again. Stetson makes an awesome one made out of buffalo-fur felt. It would look great on you. And it’s crushable!

Anyway, if you help me get more precious time with my kid, then I apologize in advance for slashing your tires. Yeah, I figure I’ll have to act even more enraged the second time, so I’ll throw in a set of Pirellis.

Looking forward to hearing from you soon!

With gratitude,