The Forks in the Road Part I

Thursday night, I did something a little crazy. It’s not something I am particularly proud of, or something I do on a regular basis. This situation did, however, end up illustrating the fact that for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction. It made me think hard about the fleeting results of our choices. It also shows that choosing the wrong fork in the road could have disastrous consequences.

Thursday was my dad’s 75th birthday, and all the siblings decided to surprise him by showing up at his door for an impromptu party. The six of us live in various locations in the country, far from the childhood home. I dragged my daughter with me; my son is in the process of trying to find a new place to live as well as dealing with college. In my daughter’s case, I say “dragged” because she was an unwilling participant. The previous Sunday, she hurt my feelings by announcing that in no uncertain terms, and also let me know my family was a bunch of kooks. (Okay, so we are, but heck, we’re family!)

On the plane ride and subsequent car trip to my hometown, we had a discussion on why when you’re an adult, you must do things for other people even if the actions or the persons are distasteful. For example, I don’t get along with one of my sisters and haven’t spoken more than a half dozen words to her in five years. If you must know why, it’s because of my father’s 70th birthday. (I should write this stuff down!) However, my mantra is to be pleasant and cheerful and act stupid. Fighting is the thing I’d least like to do.

At this point, my daughter asked me if she could drink during the party. At first, I told her “no” because she’s only 17, and added there would only be lite beer and wine, not what she likes to drink. She then brought up the fact that she was a captive, and a drink or two would make her mood more amenable to dealing with a family situation. I thought about it, and agreed. After all, she wasn’t driving, and we wouldn’t be there long. On the way to my dad’s, I stopped and bought a small flask of vodka and orange juice.

Before you think “what a horrible mom!” and report me to the local Department of Human Services, I must say this: I have allowed my children to drink under certain controlled circumstances. Both of them spent extended periods in Europe at 16 and drank. I’m sure both have been to parties and drank. I’ve told both, if you are stuck somewhere and drunk and can’t get a ride, CALL ME. I would rather come and pick them up than have them drive home under the influence.

The amount of alcohol I purchased for her wasn’t enough to get her drunk as a skunk. No. But then her 21 year old cousin decided to slip her some extra alcohol without my knowledge. When I went to leave to stay with one of my sisters, I found my daughter on the bed downstairs lying in a large pool of her own vomit. It wasn’t pretty. Some of my sibs were staying there with my dad. I tried to get her up, and couldn’t, so I tried to my best to clean up the mess before anyone came downstairs. Then I moved her to the couch.

All night, I was upset. I didn’t think I had given her enough to get that wasted, and then I felt bad. What if she had alcohol poisoning? I couldn’t exactly call my dad and say, hey, could you look at your granddaughter and tell me she’s still breathing? Because, heh, heh, she was drunk last night. And what if she did have alcohol poisoning? How could I ever live that one down?

At four a.m., I woke up in a start. I heard my daughter call my name, but she was three miles from me. Then I rubbed my eyes and went to the bathroom. I came back to bed, my skin burning as if I were on fire. “I’m going to hell,” I thought. I couldn’t go back to sleep so I went online and wrote my previous post.

At a decent hour, I called my daughter and she amazingly answered her cell phone. The level of relief felt was indescribable. I collected her a few minutes later, and we went to breakfast. This is where she confessed that her cousin had given her even more to drink.

The weird thing is that as she was describing her night, she said she awoke right at 4 a.m. and went to the bathroom. After that, she went back to the couch, where she felt so hot, she thought she was on fire.

The rest of the story later.

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