This past weekend Keenan came into my room and asked if he could go to the gym with a friend of his for a quick workout.
“Sure,” I responded. “What time do I need to drop you off?”
And then? He said something that will forever change our lives, “No need mom. Mikey will pick me up. He drives now.”
I am sure there are plenty of mothers out there who would have found this to be good news. I, on the other hand, am wired quite differently. I immediately saw the car accident. The seat where my son should be, mangled and him no longer in it, a seatbelt sitting unused. An empty bottle of vodka rolling around on the floor and my son never coming home. I saw it so vividly that I was clutching the side of the bed as if I were about to take off in a 747 with one missing engine and a bird positioned to fly into the other one.
“What a tortured soul,” you’re thinking. Ya think?
Living in my brain is exhausting. Truly. Exhausting. However. It does have it’s benefits (or so my therapist used to tell me right before I wrote a check every week).
Two that come to mind? I am always thinking about what could happen which leads to conversations with my teenagers. And? WhateverNation is now in place due to my neurosis and I am bringing these discussions to you. So that doesn’t suck. Right?
Your job? Join the conga line people and let’s start talkin’.
I heard myself gulping for air while eking out the word, “yes,” and I crap you not. I was teary eyed. Oh yes I was.
Keenan, realizing I was about to pass out, walked over and placed his hand on mine, looked me in the eyes and said, “It’s okay Mom. Don’t worry.”
Don’t worry? Have you met me? He then left the room and I cried into my pillow. How could I be here already? How do I do this? How do I trust another teenage boy with my son’s life? How do I know if I did my job right? Will Keenan make good decisions when they count?
The answer to all of those questions? Ready? Wait for it. Wait for it.
There isn’t an answer goofball. If there was, there would be no need for this damn website now would there. And really? How would the wine industry stay in business?
I composed myself, put on a smile, walked into the living room and asked Keenan if he would indulge me for a brief moment in my neurosis. He agreed because I ASKED him and made it about me. I did not demand him to come in and have a very serious talk about a very serious topic. No sirree Bob.
See the difference? This is a GIANT WhateverNation tip. Put it in your tool box. Make it about you. Then? They listen because they think they are doing you a favor. NOT being lectured. Understand?
I said, “I know I am a neurotic crazy mom, but if you would indulge me in just a minute of my neurosis so I feel like I did my job, then I will let you go.” He smiled as if to say, “You poor soul,” and I smiled as if to say, “SUCKA.” Then he followed me back to my room where the following one sided conversation took place:
Me: Here is the thing. This is a VERY BIG moment for both of us. I am having to let go of you a little bit or A LOT which as you know is not my strong suit and you are now taking on a whole new set of responsibilities.
While you probably think you are totally ready for this, you are not. You know why? Because I haven’t given you the big talk about it yet. And also because your teenage brain is not as smart as you think it is. Just sayin’. So buckle your seatbelt kid because here we go.
First and foremost, you know how many teenagers we have lost in this county due to car accidents? Yes?
Keenan: Yes mom. I know.
Me: K. Well here’s the thing. While some were due to drinking and driving other’s were due to reckless driving. We will get to the drinking part next.
First. Do you have an out plan if you are with a friend who drives like a crazy fool and you don’t want to get back in the car with him, but you don’t want to be the dorky kid who says, “You drive like a fool, I’m calling my mom?”
Keenan: (deer in headlights) No.
Me: I do. Here are two options.
Option one: My mom just called and she is pissed off. She just got a call from my Spanish teacher and it is not good. She said to wait right here and she is coming to get me. Holy fbomb, yes I know you will use the actual word, I am in big trouble.
Option Two: Oh crap. My mom just called. I totally forgot it is my grandmother’s birthday, dad’s big dinner, I have to babysit Colton, whatever the excuse and I have to get home ASAP. She is on her way to get me.
Then you call me and I will be there in a jif.
*takes a deep breath*
Now to the drinking. This conversation we have had before, but we are having it again. And we will have it again and again and will probably still be having it when you are 30. Indulge me please.
*Again. It is about me, not him.*
While I would prefer that you do not drink when you are in high school, I am fully aware that it is a possibility. You are NEVER EVER allowed to drink and drive or get in a car with someone who has had even one sip of alcohol. Capiche?
I don’t ask too much, but I do ask that a police officer never show up on my doorstep to tell me you are gone because I couldn’t take that. You understand. I couldn’t.
Keenan: Nods silently.
Here are your options if you or your driver has been drinking.
One: Call me. I will come and get you ANYTIME, ANYPLACE and with no questions asked. You know I will honor that. I have proven it to you before. Please call me.
Two: If you are uncomfortable calling me, call Carrie.*a good friend of mine* She knows that she doesn’t even have to tell me that you called. She will come and get you. ANYTIME, ANYPLACE. No questions asked.
Three: *I pulled out a card from my wallet* Put this number in your cell phone. It is a cab company. If you are so uncomfortable that you can’t call either of us, call them. They have our credit card on file and will deliver you safely home and I will take you back to your car the next morning. No questions asked.
(Deep, deep breath.) “I am finished,” I say with a smile. “Thank you for listening.”
He laughs, you know as if to say, “I did you a favor and you’re welcome.” Walks over and gives me a big hug.
“I love you,” I say as he walks out of my room.
“I love you too mom,” he says and my heart melts.
And then? His friend called to cancel.
After leaving a comment, come join me at TheBlogFrog to discuss this topic further.
Tomorrow WN will feature a post I wrote about a car accident that took place in our community resulting in the death of one teenage boy and jail time for another.
Thursday on WN. The fabulous Dr. Keith Kanner will weigh in on the topic.