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Mommy Musings - Holidays At The DMV
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My month of December was not dissimilar from most of our readers. It was packed full of parties, shopping, holiday tradition and even a little quality family time.

Midway through the month I realized my driver’s license would be expiring in a matter of weeks and I had yet to receive the renewal.

Upon this realization, I promptly took a survey among friends if I should actually make a ‘live’ visit to the Department of Motor Vehicles to inquire on my renewal. We’ve moved in the last year and a half and since my car registration and voting papers found me I naturally assumed my renewal notice would as well. Not the case.

So, with a handful of days to spare, my five-year-old and I braved the DMV sans an appointment. We had just a short window in which to accomplish this before her brother was dismissed from second grade. As per usual I sent a text to one of the mommies in our illustrious village of helpers just in case we did not make it back in time.

Truthfully, it was the holidays and it’s the DMV so I had no clue as to what I was about to face. I knew, however, I had to take care of business and if pulled over no one would care about this elaborate story.

I’m happy to report our visit was seamless and took little time. Well, little time until mommy faced the eye chart. Yes, the random alphabet which hangs from the ceiling. This created a bit of a hiccup in the process. One I should have seen coming, yet true to my stubborn nature refused to believe was possible. I have great eyesight after all. At least I thought.

I couldn’t see the letters.

As the clerk at the DMV continued to challenge me with new rows, different sets of letters … I continued to guess. Well, not really guess. The P in all honesty did appear as a D, but before I knew it I was motioned to the counter.

The counter, where a black box-like looking thing sat, and into which I was directed to look. As an admitted germ-a-phobe, this scared me a bit. As I was instructed to look into it I questioned its cleanliness. ‘I don’t want to get pink eye,’ I told the clerk. The thoughts which swirled her head were not verbalized but were visible in her expression and so I did as instructed.

Upon completion of the test I was informed that I had 20/70 or 70/20 vision (I’m still not sure), but I should see my eye doctor. Of course because I had ‘perfect’ eyesight there was no eye doctor in my list of my personal contacts to see.

I was however sent home with a temporary license, a new photo was taken and a new accurate driving license would arrive in the mail within 10 days.

Phew, I thought, that should buy me a year. My vision is fine.

Sure reading the selection list on our HD widescreen television has become more challenging, but I have a second grader in the house and he happens to be a great reader. Just another way to help mommy.

The diagnosis and reality was that I am near sighted. Translation, I can see my monitor, my children and anything I need to read … just fine. Street signs, an approaching friend, even the clock as I approach a finish line; well that’s a bit different.

As my step father encouraged me to get some glasses, I resisted. ‘How can you see the exits?’ he asked, when addressing of the need for driving.

I simply offered the obvious, it’s easy as I know our exits and if somewhere new the GPS tells me. Seemed easy enough.

This all changed as a few girlfriends and I decided to take on a ‘Fun Run’ to ring in the New Year in Stockton. I offered to drive as I was familiar with where we were going and the kids and I had participated in this same event the previous year.

As we drove and I shared the story of my new ‘eyesight discovery’ I missed the exit. Sure, partially because I was talking, but equally because it was night and I couldn’t see it. Embarrassed yet grateful for the company I was in, it prompted a good giggle among girls as I privately realized what needed to be added to my appointment calendar.

Unable to ever leave ‘mommy’ head I quickly thought … what if I had the kids in the car? What if I missed seeing a person, an animal, a motorcyclist? Yes, I scared myself straight to the optometrist.

Two weeks later I am the happy owner of a cute pair of glasses with -1.25 lenses in each eye. I was able to watch the 49ers finish off Green Bay in High Definition color. It was amazing. I’d forgotten not only how amazing HD television was, but how HD life looks as well.

So in short, was it hard to succumb and accept what my step father has been warning me about since turning 40 (the eyes go first, you know)? Yes, it was. On the plus side, I love accessories. Now I just have another vehicle for self-expression through fashion. How fun is that? And … I can now see and appreciate everyone else’s self-expression in HD. I’ll take it.


Teresa Hammond is circulation manager for The Oakdale Leader, The Riverbank News and The Escalon Times. She may be reached at or by calling 847-3021.