Aidan Gets His Driver’s License.

Aidan shows off his driver’s license.

His hands shook at the beginning of the road test, and the inspector had to tell him to drive closer to the speed limit of 35 miles per hour, but Aidan is now one of the latest licensed drivers in the Land of Lincoln.

The ride over to the registry where he had passed his permit test nearly a year ago was a tad ponderous.  Preparing for the test, Aidan made sure not to drive over the speed limit on Golf Road, with the result that a line of cars with impatient drivers assembled behind him in the fast lane.  After waiting through three different lines at the registry, one of which directed us to the same spot where he had taken the permit test, we both were in the car waiting for his examiner.

A few minutes later, George, a portly man with glasses and a South Asian accent, entered the car.

“Excuse me, Sir, but you have to leave,” he said after telling me that we did not need to show him the car’s registration.

Fifteen minutes and a call to Dunreith later, Aidan returned, that much closer to independence and adulthood.

He took the license picture – “a real bro shot,” he said admiringly – before heading back into the car to drive us home at a much brisker pace than the first trip.

On the way back home, we started on our first post-license topics.

Were we planning to buy him a credit card for gas? (Aidan’s vote was Yes, and he had a different view of my idea that he would start paying for gas.)

Should he follow the law and only drive with one passenger with  in the car? (I said Yes, while his vote was an emphatic No.)

How often would he pick us up and and run errands for us? (His answer: Never.  Mine: more often than that.)

These topics were broached amiably enough, with a few agreements to disagree and some concessions in concept on both sides.

I spoke to our insurance agent, who put Aidan on the policy.  Aidan picked up his check from his job as a camp counselor, deposited it at Chase, and got ready to head out with the car to meet a friend.

I congratulated him again and we hugged before he left.

“I’m scared to be driving by myself,” he said, before reassuring me that he would do his best not to blow the car’s speakers out by the time he turned the corner at the end of the block.

“I’ll be here if you need anything.” I told him.

Aidan nodded before walking out the front door and onto the evening’s adventures.  Memories of his first day of first grade, another landmark event when he had expressed fear before moving forward, and images of Dad’s taking me on the same experience 26 years before swirled around in my head.

So, too, did pride in his accomplishment and sadness at time’s relentless passage.

I watched as Aidan’s form retreated like a sailboat in the ocean, less and less visible until I could no longer see him.  The crickets began their evening sonata, the sounds ascending into the overcast sky.

I closed the door.


10 responses to “Aidan Gets His Driver’s License.

  1. A very newsworthy event! I’m sure Aiden has forwarded it to all of his friends! In all seriousness, a weighty family milestone and a huge leap towards independence not diminished by its stereotypical reference. And very different emotions on the different sides. I feel for your end, which you express poignantly. Good luck to the whole family on this one!

    • jeffkellylowenstein3

      Thanks, Dave. Let’s catch up soon. When are you heading to Maine?

      Love from our family to yours.


  2. Why we should come to a full stop:

    The eldest came back home from Israel in her early 20’s to “finally” get her license. She was terrified by driving, and flunked the test because the examiner knew she was going to kill someone. When I saw my daughter embarrassed, crying and utterly hopeless, I figured what the heck, let’s go to another location and give it another try. So that is what we did, and I can still see her big, smiling face having just passed the test this time. She explained to the examiner that she had just flunked the test an hour earlier (honest to a fault like her mother), and the examiner explained to her that that she would have to crash into a tree for him to flunk her. After all, he was passing very old drivers everyday because how else were they going to get around town.

    The middle child, aka “the bomber,” put it to the floor heading out of the parking lot with the examiner, and I was sure she was going to flunk. In fact, I was counting on her flunking because she considered Stop Signs an option. She passed, and the examiner noted she bent the rules a bit, but she knew how to handle a car.

    As for the youngest, he was a good driver and passed with no problems. I had only one rule for him, namely: If you are intoxicated, do not drive. Call me and I will pick you up at any time of the night, no questions asked. He made that call once, and I did not ask any questions.

    • jeffkellylowenstein3

      Great stories, Jack, and thanks for sharing them. I had a feeling I might be hearing from you on this one!


  3. And thanks for sharing Aidan’s momentous event, and your handing over the keys. I too remember vividly my Dad sitting in the back seat while I took my test back in Mass in the summer of 73. He was surprised I passed because I was buzzing around those residential neighborhoods at a pretty fast clip!

    And let’s see, does Aidan like Radiohead? Heard one of their tunes blasting from a car full of boyz
    at the midnight hour last night. Ha! 🙂

    • jeffkellylowenstein3

      Great memories, Jack. Aidan is a Radiohead fan, and we managed to get him in last night right around the 11:00 p.m. deadline for under 18 drivers! 🙂


  4. Lovely story, reflecting a father’s pride, wistfulness, a continuing link from father to son, perhaps to be recalled and repeated by Aidan some day in the future as his sailboat navigates his own voyage. Well done, sir.

    • jeffkellylowenstein3

      Thanks very much, my man. Hope the wedding is fun. I’ll give a call later to check in and see how things are going.


  5. Sandra Hollingsworth

    That was a great story. Oh my Jeff Aidan is now a licensed driver!!! I remember meeting him for the first time @ the office. He’s growing up and another milestone has passed!!! I know you & Dunreith are so pleased and looking forward to the next milestone. We’re starting puberty @ my house. Any suggestions!?!

    • jeffkellylowenstein3

      Thanks, Sandra, for this lovely comment and request for advice. I know you’ve been through it before with your children, so don’t have any real advice other than to continue to let your kids now you love them and try to strike a balance between letting them go and keeping connected. 🙂

      Hope to see you soon.


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