I dropped my son off at his house about 30 minutes ago, and on the way back home I cried. But the tears I cried were tears of happiness, relief, and gratitude.
Why the tears? Because today--3,231 days after being eligible to receive it--my son finally got his driver's license!
This is a rite of passage that most kids go through at age 16. But the first time my son took his road test, back almost nine years ago, he didn't pass because he messed up on the parallel parking test.
For several years after that, my wife and I wouldn't let him get his license because we didn't want him driving while he was using drugs. It was a safety precaution we took, not only for our son's sake but for others as well.
Since getting clean and sober, our son just hadn't gotten around to taking the driving test again. He's had a permit for years, but getting his actual license was always on his proverbial list of things to do.
My wife left early this afternoon to go get our younger son at college because it's his first break of the year. I stayed home, borrowed my mom's car, and took our older son to his road test.
I watched nervously as he underwent the parking tests, but he nailed them without even coming close to touching a cone. Then he and the tester hit the road. About 20 minutes later, they returned and my son was all smiles.
Another roadblock eliminated. Another weight lifted off my son's shoulders. Another move toward complete independence. Another positive step in a series of positive steps that has continued for the last two-plus years.
After the road test, my son and I went right to the Secretary of State's office to take care of the necessary paperwork. While he was having his picture taken for his license, I almost had to pinch myself to make sure I wasn't dreaming.
My son smiled so big for his photo. You could see the pride and sense of accomplishment in his face. He will be 25-years-old in December, and he waited such a long time for this day.
Another one of life's milestones reached. So what if it was just a little bit late.
"I was a late bloomer. But anyone who blooms at all, ever, is very lucky." --Sharon Olds