The driver’s license

illinois plateYesterday W earned his driver’s license. Congratulations, W. He has been looking forward to the day when he could drive the car by himself. He had a countdown to the day he could take the test and earn his license.
We have been doing a lot of driving lately – long distance to Ohio and Michigan and he’s gotten a lot of practice on the road. He drove the entire way home from Michigan on Monday all 360 plus miles with two stops – one for gas and coffee and the other for dinner at Chipotle a couple of miles from home.

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ten years ago at the cottage, W delivering firewood for the night’s campfire… I miss that totem pole, it was cool

I picked up the mail at the post office Tuesday morning and there was a letter in the mail for W – from the Secretary of State’s office. I showed it to him when he got home from football camp at noon, he was excited to see it and I gathered all of the necessary documentation – social security card, official birth certificate, two forms of identification with our address on them (bank statement and grade report), insurance card, and finally the registration. It took all of fifteen minutes.

We’d been away from home for almost two weeks, the yard needed mowing, and it’s his job. I told him the yard needed to be mowed before he could take the test. He agreed. Driving is a responsibility and I wanted him to know I was serious. When he was finished, we left for the DMV.

He drove and I could tell he was nervous. He’s a good driver and has improved greatly since my first drive with him last fall. I had a flashback to my driver training and remembered stopping past the line of a stop sign during one of my first drive’s – the driver instructor made me stop the car, put the car in park, turn on the flashers, get out the of the car and apologize to the stop sign for passing it. I was embarrassed, I giggled and laughed, but I apologized to Mr. Stop Sign. I learned. On that first drive W made the same error as I did, he stopped past the line of the stop sign, and I paid it forward.

That drive seems a million years or miles ago.

We passed the stop sign and we laughed – he remembered exactly where it was and we made a list of things not to do to during the driver’s test.

    • play with the radio
    • play music – loudly
    • play offensive and inappropriate music
    • answer the phone
    • make a phone call
    • check your e-mail
    • send an e-mail
    • take a photo
    • send a text
    • accelerate quickly
    • slam on the brakes
    • and, so many more….

We laughed and it cut the tension. When we arrived, we got in line and learned that we had to come back the next day – road tests were cutoff at 5PM. It as Tuesday, 5:04 PM. We turned around and headed home.

We went back Wednesday. We arrived and got in line at 1:18 PM. I tried to joke with him, but he wasn’t in a joking mood, so we sat quietly waiting.

They called his name and he went out to the car. The instructor did the safety check, and then he backed her up and was off. Eleven minutes later, they were back – he passed. He got his photo taken and we were done. Well done, W.

Now the adventure really begins. His first official drive was to Trader Joe’s then home. His first solo drive was to the dentist. Woohoo. I remember my first solo drive and many of the drives as a sixteen year old. I wasn’t a very smart adolescent driver and I’m not telling until he’s at least twenty-five, maybe later, or never. I know – double standard.

That’s why we work so hard at parenting: first to give roots, then to give wings. He has two more years of high school, then college. Wings.

Today is gonna be a great day. I’ve been lazy since getting home from Michigan Monday night, I’ve done a few chores, but spent a lot of time just resting and relaxing – I took several naps while W mowed Tuesday afternoon. I suppose the events of the past month have taken and toll and worn me down and I needed to rest. I’ve seen three Reds games on television; they’re on a win streak, and on the move in the standings; for a couple of the games, I saw more of the inside of my eyelids, than the game.

Yeah, today is gonna be a great day and tomorrow promises to be a million and six times better. In the meantime, I’d better focus on the here and now – I’d better jump up, jump in, and seize the day. Making the Days Count, one day at a time, one test, one moment, one milestone.

Do you remember your driver’s test?  

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10 thoughts on “The driver’s license

    1. Thank you! I’ve been sifting through our old digital photos dating back to 2001, when we made the leap. I came across that photo and several others. Classic. The car belonged to his cousins Molly and Timmy and became his when they were too old (and probably too big) to drive it. Funny story about being ‘pokey’ – I remember a road trip in college when we drove the car 50 miles before we realized the parking break was on….I can laugh now, it wasn’t funny then. :) Most things aren’t funny until time passes.

  1. What an awesome post!! I just loved this story so much…You remind me of what’s good and normal in the world and I thank you for that.
    The pic of W delivering wood cracked me up…signs of things to come for sure! :-)
    I failed my first driver’s test as I backed up over the orange cones while parallel parking. I asked if I could try again but the instructor told me I’d killed the cone and had to reschedule.

    1. Thank you. There are days when I don’t feel so normal. Funny story about Mr. Cone. I failed my first written test and came back the next day and passed. I passed my road test and only had trouble with parallel parking. W told me he goofed on parking on a hill and was able to correct his response… good thing we don’t have too many hills around here. Have a great week.

  2. It’s a real rite of passage, isn’t it? I think you Americans can do it at a younger age it’s 17 with us, and I think that’s too young too. Well, I would, wouldn’t I? I finally took my test when I was 40, my son was about 30 when he did his, and my 25 year old daughter hasn’t learnt yet: as a city dweller, she doesn’t see the point. Only my elder daughter was raring to go at 17. Congratulations to W by the way!

    1. Thank you. You are correct – 16 or 17 is too young, there has been a movement to raise it to 18, but the politicians have just made the requirements to get the license more difficult and added restrictions that apply for the first year – curfew and limits to who can be in the car with him – only one person under 20 for the first year. I got my license at 16. I can understand why folks in England and France don’t drive – having a car in the city is a liability. My dad lived in England and France for over 20 years and never had a car. He rented one for our last visit in 1997 – he drove us to Normandy and Chatteau-Thierry – but for getting around the city it was easier (and cheaper) to use public transportation. Have a great week!

  3. I remember being a nervous wreck the first time my son took the car out on his own. You hope and pray you’ve done the best job as a parent preparing them for the world. Although it’s a lot easier now, I’m not sure the worrying ever stops. Congrats to W…..time to spread those wings :-)

    1. He was pretty nervous while we were waiting – he had NO SENSE OF HUMOR. I sent snarky texts to my wife and gave her updates… he’s just had that one drive and the insurance bill hasn’t arrived, and he has yet to ask for the car. But, I know that’s coming. We’ve been busy – he and I are the only ones home right now and we have just one car. He’s had wrestling and football activities to go to the first couple of nights and last night we hunkered down at home – we were both exhausted. He’s making plans for grandpa’s car to be his – but the jury is out. Wings – you are right you hope and pray you’ve done your job, but there are some things that don’t sink in until they experience it. Thanks for stopping by – have a great week.

Let me know how YOU are Making YOUR Days Count!