count the blessingsI thought I had a stressful morning, that is until I had an up close glance at someone else’s. Backing out of the garage took a little longer than normal and the extra time we’d allocated for as little stress as possible on the morning drive to school was disappearing like a magic trick.

The mirrors on my truck that is already a wide ride make the entering and especially exiting from my garage a little tricky, especially for an inexperienced and barely-fifteen-and-a-half-year-old-driver. “Stop! – Look at the mirror! You’re gonna rip it off! – Pull back that way!” I pointed ahead and to the right.

After a couple failed attempts to get out of the garage my youngest pleaded in desperation and frustration, “Why don’t you just get it out for me?”

“No – that’s part of it – you gotta do it!” I answered.

Stress doesn’t lessen much when you’re driving with a newbie and no brakes or steering wheel located on the passenger side of the vehicle, although that doesn’t keep the teacher from stomping on the floor board as if brakes were really there.

It doesn’t help that the driving lesson and experience being gained by my little one is on mean metropolitan streets of the sixth largest city in the U.S. As unlikely as it is, there’s a school bus that ends up smack next to us almost daily – the very same one that has as much or more trouble as my daughter keeping the oversized behemoth in their own lane, to add to my stress.

We made the last right turn onto the six-lane surface street and my daughter worked her way over to the far left lane for a turn onto the street her school is located on. She’s better with her proper signals and lane changes than her lazy dad.

The last car finally ran through the yellow light as we sat like ducks waiting to turn… no big surprise since Phoenix does top the nation in yellow and red light runners… “Quick, babe! – Hit it!” I said as calmly as possible trying to expedite our exit from the would be entrance to eternity.

We made the turn and were into the “15 MPH School Zone” in short order. I’ve come to really appreciate those lower speeds when everybody is obeying them. My little one pulled over the hard to judge truck with the oversized off-road tires perfectly next to the curb. “Good job, babe – you did good,” I said. “Thanks, dad,” she smiled knowing she did. I exhaled a set of lungs full of stress as I got out in front of the school to take over the reins… and real brake.

I immediately heard the screaming – it didn’t take long to assess the situation as my daughter came around the back of the truck to meet me at the curb with wide eyes of dismay. The young girl in the car behind us screamed at her mom from the top of her lungs one more time for good measure, “I HATE YOU!!!”

I kissed my daughter on the side of her head like I do every time I drop her off, “Love you, babe. Have a great day,” I said. “Thanks, dad. Love you too,” she answered.

The stress on the face of the mom of the screaming girl, as she mumbled to herself, read like the big “E” on the eye chart. It reminded me that we “will all have trouble in this world,” but it also reminded me not to forget to count the blessings in my own life.