Lovely party on Friday night, nothing elaborate. Just a little get-together of a small group. Talked about football, of course, and the dads complained mightily about the coach. Predictable play calling, can't make the adjustment at halftime, you know the ball's going to L--- and they know it too.....the usual banter amongst the highly competitive.
The ladies chattered away, with talk of shoes and sales and the children. Bit by bit, the topic turned to parties and teen-agers. We poured more wine. Some of the guests had been to Napa Valley, spectacular scenery, be sure to stay at a bed and breakfast, it's so worth it. No one was drunk. We're all too old to handle the hang-over that would last for a month if we allowed one to take hold.
We were at a party on Friday night, and the subject came up. Our children and parties, the underage drinking. Her son walked home, smart enough to know that he should not drink and then drive a car, but not smart enough to know that public intoxication is a crime and a seventeen-year-old boy is easy to spot when he's staggering. Then the other one told of a party that got out of control, when the couple went off overnight. Just a few friends over, her son decided without her knowledge, and the next thing he knows there's all sorts of people at the house, the party out of control, and the police came. Thank God for good neighbors, who heard the noise and knew that the parents were out. Someone stole liquor from her house. The plasterer had to be called in. A mess.
Five young men were also at another party on Friday night. The evening after the homecoming football game, they drank, even though they were not old enough. When they got into a car to go home just before midnight, they buckled up their seatbelts and took off along a winding residential road at high speed. Around the time that we arrived home from our party, five sets of parents were getting a call, an accident, come to the hospital. Two of the five would then be told that their son was dead. Massive head trauma. Alcohol and cannabis involved. Excessive speed.
There is a reason that we do not allow our children to drink. They are immature. They make poor decisions. They think that they are being careful by buckling up, but they do not understand how alcohol and marijuana depress their nervous system, slowing down reactions. They believe that they are invincible, that they can get behind the wheel of a car when drunk and be fine.
We cannot wrap them in bubble wrap or lock them away until they are of age. What little protection we can give, we give. Where are you going? Who are you going to be with? Who are the parents? Will they be home? And then we vet the parents through our circle of friends. Do they allow drinking? Are they trying to be parents or are they trying to be their child's best buddy? That family is responsible, you can go. We do not know those people, you cannot go.
Friday night, while we were driving home from a party, two young men also drove home from a party and died when the car spun out and crashed into a tree. We came home to a quiet house. Others came home to a phone call, a nightmare. The police will learn how the five young men obtained the booze that got them drunk. And then the lawsuits will start...but two lives are gone and cannot be replaced.
The children were warned about drinking and driving at school on Friday because the teachers knew that some would be partying. Pity that no one could talk to the parents, to tell them not to allow liquor, to be on guard, to be vigilant. A shame that the parents were not called into the school to be advised, as their children were. The kids think that they are invincible. We know that they are not.