The Forks in the Road Part II

My daughter and I had our discussion at breakfast about the previous night’s debauchery. I told her in all seriousness that if she continued to binge drink as she had, this was a sign of alcoholism. She disagreed and informed me that she liked to push the boundaries and see how far she could go. We had a discussion about alcohol poisoning, and that there’s a very thin line between being drunk and being poisoned. I again reiterated my concern over the amount she would be drinking and the time frame, and also whether or not she had eaten anything. (She hadn’t eaten much at my father’s party. It was heavy on the red meat and carbs, and she’s rather fussy about what she eats.) I also said that at college next year, I would not be around to pull  her sorry ass out of a similar situation.

We left the restaurant and continued to drive to past familiar haunts. It was such a beautiful day, very warm, and the sun shining. I was still quite upset about the night before, but glad that she hadn’t felt any lasting bad effects. My mission with her continues to be that of showing her if she does something, anything, there are consequences. It’s hard to tell if she’s listening. At this age, kids think their parents are stupid. We don’t know anything. We lived in a different time.

Driving up the mountain pass, my rental car decided to die. It didn’t just sputter and slowed down, it was dead. This was very dangerous, as we were in an area of sharp twisting roads where people drove over the 55 mile an hour speed limit, and there were no shoulders with which to pull over. I rolled over to a little spot where my tiny KIA could fit and attempted to call the rental car agency. There was no cell phone signal in this pass. So we sat for a few minutes and waited, hazard light on. Cars were whizzing around us, and honking, as if I could do anything. They were no doubt on their way to weekend fun, and we were  in the way.

I tried the ignition once, and the engine would not turn over. We waited a few more minutes. Finally, the thing came to life, and we started moving again, slowly. Several much faster vehicles blew by as I tried to maintain the flow of traffic.

Not a half mile later, the traffic had come to another dead stop. Just a couple of cars ahead, I could see debris on the road. One of the four motorcycles which had just passed us ten seconds before was a crumpled mass of metal, its rider several feet beyond. People from the first couple of cars ran out to offer assistance. Some were on cell phones. The other motorcyclists gently placed the rider on the side of the road. Someone kicked the debris to one side to get traffic going again.

My daughter asked if we should get out and help. I thought the situation was being taken care of, so when traffic resumed, we slowly made our way past, where we could see the rider was at least moving, although he looked quite dazed.

We continued on in silence. Then she asked if someone had run into him, or if it was his own fault. I thought about it. What difference did it make, if someone had tapped him? His bike could have just as easily slid on gravel on the road. He made a choice to go out for a run on this beautiful day, and this was the outcome. I’m sure he didn’t think his afternoon would end up with him lying on the side of the road.

I’m not a firm believer in Fate, because I think you can pilot your own ship in your own way. But sometimes no matter which fork in the road you take, there will be trouble at the end of it.


8 Responses

  1. She may have learned more from someone else’s accidental misfortune than she would from all of her mother’s wisdom.

    If it means anything, they may not look like they are listening but they are. They’re filing things away. One day they’ll be far away and they’ll pull out their parent’s wisdom.

  2. Corina: I think that learning takes best when the messages come from more than one direction. The accident may have been needed for her to learn but I think the mother’s wisdom being there too probably gave the lesson form that made it learnable.

  3. I feel unqualified to remark since my kids are (thankfully) not teenagers yet. If my daughter’s current behavior is any indication, I’m in for a long ride.

    Sounds like you had a crappy weekend Pan. Sorry!

  4. Yes, BGG. The motorcycle was the underscore on Mom’s lesson, which is what I meant in my sleep deprived and basket case state. I guess I didn’t write that, but it’s the thought that counts.

    Pan…don’t let this shake you. You are a wonderful mom! She is just being a kid. When I was going off to college, my mom didn’t want to let me go. She was telling her doctor, confiding in him, that she was worried about me living in the dorms and away from her. The doctor, who I never met but owe him a debt of gratitude, told her not to worry. If she had raised me right, I would live my life the way she raised me, basing my choices on what she taught me. He told her that all we can do is teach the lessons and let our kids make their own choices … and hope they make the right ones. We can’t make their choices for them.

    You are a GREAT MOM!!! Don’t allow yourself to doubt that!

  5. Corina: Sorry. I’m not sleep deprived. I’m just a bit cantankerous. I certainly could have read what you wrote that way. I just didn’t. Maybe my cantankerousness will disappear sometime this week.

  6. Corina is right. If you have raised them right, they might hiccup a little on the way, but they will get to the end safe all right. She is listening, don’t worry.

  7. I hope I have raised them right. One never really knows. I’m sure Jeffrey Dahmer’s father felt the same way.

  8. Daddy used to disavow responsibility of the parent. When one gives kids independence, sometimes they will screw up with it and sometimes they will out perform your wildest expectations.

    Thus, I think he was right in principle in this.

    Of course, that doesn’t mean that you aren’t doing it right. I feel confident that you are — probably more confident than you feel and certainly more confident than I feel about my own parenting. I also think one should try.

    I have my doubts about at least some parents of psychos.

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