Sunday, June 24, 2012

The Rules

It's Sunday, Sunday, Sunday! We are celebrating Lil A's 10th birthday. She's a cool kid who in her ten years has already participated in a triathlon, loves sports, and is a die-hard fan of the Phillies, Eagles, and Hunger Games. She wears her hair like the protagonist in the movie and is taking archery lessons. She is collecting stickers from the grocery store and if she wins the million dollars, she and Tink will split the money. She makes her own cheesecakes and fresh homemade pasta.....Neat kid, huh? Happy double digit birthday, kiddo....many many many more to come!

 I'm a bit tired today for a number of reasons. Last night I did not sleep well at all.....why, BP mom? Too much dinner? Dessert? Merlot? Partying late? Reading a good book that you could not put down? a late HBO movie?

The answer is "no" to all of the let me start at the beginning....Once upon a time.... the land of BP mom, her son decided that he was going to attend a party with high school friends in the first state....and so, he asked politely if he could use the car. He planned on staying the night with the guys and returning home late Sunday morning. "Staying overnight" was code for there will probably be some drinking involved. Plans were made and BP mom naturally said: "Yes, have a good time."

Then he stopped her as she was leaving the house..."aren't you going to go down the list before I leave?" The list, ahhh yes, the list. The "list" is a series of 'do's' and do not's' that I review before any child leaves the house on an evening to attend a party.

Since the parties that my kids now attend no longer serve Kool-aid but something a bit stronger, he was surprised that I did not review the list. And so, to be consistent, I started:

  • No drinking and driving
  • Keep your drink with you at all times
  • No dui's
  • No drunken disorderliness
  • No arrests (I will not post bail least for 24 hours)
  • If the party gets out of hand, you are to leave
  • If the party gets out of hand and you have been drinking, you call questions asked...I will pick you up and put you to bed. There will be no conversation after I pick you up unless you want to have it.
  • Lastly, dad finishes the list by saying: "Don't do anything stupid...." (That gives the receiver a number of options as he or she weighs the stupidity level of any action.....)
And so, off he went to be with his high school friends and the rest of us went to dinner. As we drove to the restaurant, I said to dad: "he'll be home tonight. He won't make it." How did I know that? Was I psychic? Am I a fortune teller? Nope, just a mom who knows her kid. He loves his bed and his sleep. He likes a party but in small doses; drinking until a person is blind is not his idea of a good time. He has too much to lose.

Once we returned home from dinner, I started to read and considered that maybe he was going to make it. After all, his friends are nice guys, so perhaps they just want to hang out, play video games, talk, laugh and go to bed. Was I right? Welllll....

Around 3:30 am, I heard the garage door go up and jumped out of bed. Seeing that it was Buddy and his friend, I ran to turn off the house alarm. They almost ran into the house as if they were trying to get away from something. Lo and behold, in the darkness of the stairwell, he and his friend began to spill their guts...."It was bad...the guys were smashing tables and pictures....they were also flipping over furniture....then some of them tried to pick a fight with me. We looked at each other and knew that we had to get out of there...."

OK boys, get something to eat and go to bed. I'll see you in the morning. I knew that his friend was with him at our home because if his mother had a glimmer of what had happened, I would be able to hear her scream at my he was welcome and upon day light, he could explain to her what had happened. Actually, she would be proud of her boy for leaving a bad situation.

And so, this morning after Buddy drove his friend home, he gave us the low lights of the party and thanked us for letting him go and encouraging him to leave if the party got out of hand. Dad listened quietly and I could tell that he was impressed by his son's decision making skills....although for the life of me, I still don't understand the decision to leave a wet towel on the carpet....

With that said, college parties have not changed over the years. Too much drink and youth is the recipe for disaster. Some of the kids are on ADD meds and are impulsive by nature. By late evening, the medication has worn off and the impulsiveness heightens. Drinking does not equal coolness. In fact, there is nothing cool about a kid vomiting in the bathroom or on their clothes or a rowdy bunch of guys destroying old furniture from the family's home. That is not cool.

So, what is cool in college? My take on it is hanging out with friends, talking, laughing, and having a good time....alcohol and its effects can lead to nothing good and often is the source of stupid behavior. Ask my friend who was arrested in front of a party for hitting a guy who picked a fight with him. The results? Well, he spent the night in jail, picked up a nasty virus, lost 25 pounds, went to court, and was sued, and almost lost his scholarship. ...oh yeah...he was underage too....a recipe for disaster....

And there was Buddy's best friend in elementary school who was a hard partier in high school. I loved this kid. He had a wonderful sense of humor and was a great friend to my son. We will be looking back on his untimely alcohol-related death in August. He will be dead for two years. Tragically, he never made it to college. Burying a teenager or any child is not my idea of fun, especially when you look at the depth of the parent's despair on their faces. Further, I have lost a number of good friends when drunk drivers have crashed into their cars. One friend lost her entire family to an inebriated driver when they were headed out to buy ice cream. The last thing that she remembers with her husband and two children in the car was counting her change to make sure she had enough money to buy ice cream cones. She was the only survivor (if that's what you can call it) from the accident.

Therefore, despite losing a bit of sleep, I am beyond thrilled that the big guy felt that he could come home and not be judged. Not going to happen if he follows the "rules".

I may joke about Merlot moments, but that's's basically a driving...nothing.... It takes a strong conviction and good decision making skills to know when to cut the booze off. The kids are not ready yet, but thankfully...the big leftie followed his conscience and got out of a bad he can reap the benefits of a mom who can call her son 'trustworthy'...ahh, he is growing up....thank the Good Lord.......

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