This past year has presented many challenges.
It was my first year being divorced.
I had one kid about five hours away in boarding school.
Another joined a new swim team that’s about 30 minutes away from home.
I had five kids on three different swim teams.
Logistically that’s enough of a challenge.
My oldest working full-time this summer added another layer of difficulty.
The year of being old enough to work but not old enough to drive, well…
It kind of sucked.
There was a lot of driving this past year.
A LOT OF DRIVING.
It’s been exhausting.
And while I can’t believe I have a 16-year-old and the thought of any of my kids operating a vehicle was incomprehensible up until very recently, I needed to get my son his license.
Eliminating having to drive him to practice at 4:30 in the morning or pick him up at 9 pm was going to be a game changer for me and my parents and my son.
And the rest of the kids!
It was going to be a game changer for ALL of us.
Getting your license now is much different than it was in 1985 when I got my license.
I turned 16 in September, and less than one month later I had my license.
I never took driver’s ed.
I never took a driving lesson.
I never even got a permit!
I remember asking my mom if I could drive and she literally pulled the car over and said, “Okay. Start driving.”
I practiced mostly with my dad for a few weeks, and then I took my test.
I took the written test immediately followed by the driving test.
And then I had my license.
Piece of cake.
Now the process is much different. (In CT anyway)
In order to get your learner’s permit, you have to pass the written portion of the test.
Once you get your permit, you have to wait 6 months to take the driving test. In those 6 months you must take an 8-hour driver’s ed class as well as one 2-hour driving lesson.
OR you can take a 30 hour driver’s ed class and four, 2-hour driving lessons.
When you complete the 30 hour course, you can take the road test four months after getting your permit.
The 30-hour course also gives you a discount on your insurance.
You can take your permit test as soon as you turn 16.
The 16-year-old did not take this very seriously.
He had an appointment to take the written test and get his permit at 7:45 am on his birthday.
He thought he’d breeze right through the test after taking a few practice tests on an app on his phone.
He failed the learner’s permit test the first time he took it.
I wasn’t surprised.
He didn’t deserve to pass.
He took things slightly more seriously the next time around, but still, he refused to read or study the manual.
And he failed the permit test again.
I felt terrible for him.
Also this was prolonging the process and I was fucking desperate to get this kid his license.
But he was also learning some valuable life lessons.
Studying for the permit test became a family affair.
And this past August, on the third try and in spite of some massive test anxiety, he finally passed.
We were one step closer.
We opted for the 30 hour driver’s ed class.
I wanted that insurance discount but more importantly I wanted to make sure he was prepared.
You need 40 hours of driving practice on the road before you take your test.
My parents and I logged well over 40 hours on the road with him.
We all shared the teaching. It was definitely a multigenerational family affair.
Between the three of us and driver’s ed, I know he is extremely well-prepared.
He’s confident and relaxed behind the wheel.
And he is ready to be out on the road.
Today was test day.
I saw my poor guy slip back into anxiety this morning.
He wasn’t prepared the first (or second) time he took the written test, but he was absolutely prepared for the road test today.
He wasn’t so sure, but I was.
He did it.
We all did it!!!
This was a total team effort.
I watched my son drive himself to swim practice tonight for the first time.
He was so proud of himself and I was so proud of him.
Is it hard to let him go?
Yeah, of course. It’s bittersweet.
But life just became a whole lot more manageable for me today and a whole lot more exciting for my guy.
I’m so happy for him.
He worked hard, and he absolutely earned this very special privilege.
Onto the next chapter!