Friday, July 11, 2008

Drinking and Driving and Six year Olds

One of the running conversations we have in our house has to do with What Might Happen If.

What Might Happen If we fall off our very high deck whilst balancing on the edge. 
What Might Happen If we break something precious while doing something extremely stupid (especially if we were already told not to, ahem). 
What Might Happen If we lie about something truly critical. 

And so on. (feel free to insert your own drama) But the point being that there are certain actions that have, in Harry Potter parlance, unforgivable consequences (broken limbs, split skulls, lost trusts, broken-hearted mothers, or even worse - really furious mothers).

One of my usual scenarios features the concept of drinking (alcohol) and driving (moving vehicles). I have a lot of "what was I thinking?" memories from my youth, which is probably why I am slightly hung-up on it. Memories of careering across bridges in rickety cars with drunken boys at the helm. Memories of friends' brothers paralyzed for life after trying to tightrope walk electric lines at drunken parties. Memories of doing an awful lot of awfully stupid things while in an intoxicated state. Too much of something mind-altering combined with way too much exuberance and carelessness. The older I get the more mild surprise I develop that I managed to survive half that stuff.

So my new Official Motherly Advice to the kids is this: no matter where you are, or what time it is, I'll come and pick you up if you really need it. Even better, I will not be mad. Please remember this, I tell them. I will be very sad if anything were to happen to you, I tell them. Very sad.

Yesterday we were out running some errands and FDPG told us all that she needed to get a cell phone. Why? I asked. For when I go to parties, she says. For when I need to call you to come and get me. That won't be for a while, I told her, you're six! Six year olds don't drink (peals of laughter from the back seat at the hilarity of this). Ha, she says, that's what you think. I plan on being very busy when I get older and there might be drunk people around then. Can you come get me if I am on another continent, she asks? Not immediately, I say. Can FDPG get undrunk? Dominic pipes up, suddenly concerned at his sister's wild future. 

I can see this conversation is going to take on some interesting permutations. For all of us.


Nicola said...

My dad always drove me places and picked me up. I thought he was overbearing. He was a worrier. But looking back, I'm glad. I really could have got into some scrapes when I was a teenager, and while I still had some crazy times, I never got hurt or stuck in the middle of nowhere without a lift home.

Vivian said...

Oh, thanks for the laugh. I can only imagine this conversation at my house. But seriously, good for you for communicating to your children on this important topic and that you will be there for them.