Could We Have Possibly Done Something Right? (Part 6 and Done :)

The Australian Open Tennis Championships are underway! The first Grand Slam of 2014 is here! Tennis in the morning. Tennis after work. Tennis in the evening. Tennis at night.

And everyone wonders why I don’t get any real writing done. (“Yeh,” say the Aussies).

Yes, I’m moving on. Maybe a calming chamomile tea is in order. (Nah. Hate tea. Coffee’s my brew.) Hope everyone is well, this second full week of the New Year.

Can I possibly wrap up this series? I suppose I should have be done, but one incident with Older Son (OS) stands out too much to not share. And it’s so interesting how several seemingly unrelated events came together to help Hubby and me with our responses to the situation.

OS turned 17 this past November. In my state, that means a driver’s license, which he got December 11, 2013.

That means OS has had a driver’s permit since April. Sometime before June he came across a used car for sale, pretty much what he wanted, and a great deal for him. Hubby and I had our misgivings, but we allowed him to use a portion of his savings to buy it.

It got parked at a friend’s house, pronto, not to be registered or insured until he got the DL.

On a mid-June weekend this past summer, Hubby and I were supposed to go to our PA cottage. A dear friend had passed away and we’d hoped to attend the funeral, which was in the vicinity. OS was scheduled to work and Younger Son (YS) is in the ‘bored’ stage in PA (no internet connection for the X-box in the woods).

Because putting together arrangements for a responsible adult to be available to a 14- and 16- year-old was turning out to be more tedious than we figured it should have been, Hubby and I made a last-minute decision to stay home. Neither of us felt all that comfortable leaving the kids home while we were three hours away. And we’d visited my friend twice during her bout with cancer, so I felt better knowing I’d connected with her before she exited this life.

So, there we were Saturday afternoon, June 15th. Kids are both out and Hubby decides to step out—maybe run to the deli or something along those lines.

He came home livid.

He’s spotted OS driving his should-have-been-parked-car, with his girlfriend (GF) in the passenger seat.

OS came in a few minutes later, pleading his case for the necessity of the run.

Hubby grounded him on the spot, including not allowing him to attend a rather formal birthday party he and GF were due at in less than two hours.

Not sure I agreed with Hubby’s choice of handling the situation—he was pretty mad—and the party, as far as I could see, had nothing to do with the transgression. I spoke to Hubby privately (so that OS wasn’t aware of the conflict of opinions Hubby and I had), but supported his decision since it had already been made, and he felt very strongly about not changing it. He believed strong action that showed OS the severity of his transgression was necessary. I did agree with the rationale, but might have chosen a more related form of discipline (i.e., revoked even permit-driving privileges for x-amount of time, or something along those lines).

Aside: GF was kind enough not to attend the party w/o OS.

So, that’s how Saturday, June 15th went. OS probably said something to me here and there, but I reminded him (nicely) that he’d made a choice, got caught and now had to deal with the consequences of his action.

The next morning we realized there was some emergency vehicle activity going on a few blocks from our house. Being the mind-our-own-business folks we usually are, Hubby walked down to scope out the action then texted OS and GF to come down. They took off on their skateboards.

A FIFTEEN-year-old boy had taken his mother’s SUV—she had gone to church—piled in at least three friends and lost control making a turn. He ploughed headlights first into an electrical pole. (Don’t ask how the force at the bottom toppled the top third of the pole, knocking it onto a power line and taking out the electricity to one or more houses on that street.)

OS hung out, and chatted for a while with the tow truck guy, who talked about the law-end of what this kid and his family would be dealing with in the not-so-far-future. And that kid won’t be seeing a driver’s license anytime near his 17th birthday. (He kind of seriously messed up that privilege.)

So what’s my point? Hubby and I could have ranted and raved at OS for making the impulsive choice he did. We didn’t. In agreement or not, we stood united in doling out consequences. (We are lucky. OS takes his lumps like a man (?). YS shows a much more dramatic side, but eventually does his time—often the next day, once he’s calmed down.)

I’m getting at this: LIFE stepped in and demonstrated a real-life example of what could happen when a kid takes a vehicle, especially if said kid is not terribly skilled/experienced at handling it. Sans getting preachy, we used that illustration to point out how flippin’ lucky OS was that his actions the day before cost him a party and little else.

And how crazy was it that Hubby and I stayed home and Hubby just happened to be on the same road at the same time OS had taken out his car? Coincidence? I’m not so sure…

Anyone out there with similar experiences to share? Please do! How did you handle it? Would you have grounded OS from the party? If not, what consequences might you have imposed? Did life show up with a lesson better than anyone you could have given?

Have a great day, folks,

Joanna

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11 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. staceywilk
    Jan 16, 2014 @ 07:01:48

    There are no coincidences and the Universe always provides. Or maybe it was your friend (sorry for your loss, by the way,) telling you to stay home. Your son was going to need you. I think life may have sent OS a message to compound the point you and your hubby already made. Because believe me, if you weren’t doing your job as parents that real life example would have been missed.

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    • Joanna Aislinn
      Jan 16, 2014 @ 07:20:56

      Thnx, Stacey. That weekend felt like all the stars lined up to create a heck of a focal point. I’m grateful OS seems mature enough to “get” life lessons. He is far from perfect or passive but fortunately, doesn’t too often fight making a better choice. Did that make any sense at all?

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  2. Let's CUT the Crap!
    Jan 16, 2014 @ 10:44:48

    Backing up hubby because he’d already handed out the punishment was the right thing to do. No matter what the punishment, it’s a good idea to have a united front and not back down.
    I would most definitely say you were indeed supposed to stay home. Amazing how incidents fall into place. I agree with the previous comments. :-)

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    • Joanna Aislinn
      Jan 16, 2014 @ 20:46:58

      Hi Tess! Thanx for stopping in and for your comment. To this day I disagree with his off-the-cuff response, but it’s a done deal and hopefully we all learned something.

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      • Let's CUT the Crap!
        Jan 16, 2014 @ 20:50:03

        True. This should have been discussed but since the judgement had been passed, parents must show a strong front. Hopefully next time, there will be time for a huddle before a pronouncement is made.
        Still, you guys are bringing up normal teenage kids. ;-)

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      • Let's CUT the Crap!
        Jan 17, 2014 @ 13:21:44

        I agree with you. Your hubby might have been seeing red and reacted to his anger. At least it’s over for now. Until next time. Or maybe not.

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  3. Carrie Rubin
    Jan 16, 2014 @ 12:04:29

    I think you handled that perfectly. As Tess pointed out, parents must stand united. And what timing for him to get a real-life example of what could have happened.

    By the way, right when I read the words ‘Hate tea’ I took a sip of my own tea. I had to laugh. I never used to like tea, but I had to force myself to drink it since I can’t stand coffee. Now I love some of the different flavors.

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    • Joanna Aislinn
      Jan 16, 2014 @ 20:51:44

      If I think about that 15-y/o, I feel badly for him. Talk about consequences that will be with him for a very long time.

      Maybe ‘hate tea’ came from the chamomile my mother always pushed for every stomach ache I ever had, lol. Every now and again–like every five years or so, I kid you not–I’ll have a berry tea. Can’t stand black (?) tea and keep the chamomile for sure.

      Thanks, Carrie. And so cool I ‘met up’ with Tess in your virtual house. Love it!

      And all the best to you with your latest MS and querying.

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      • Carrie Rubin
        Jan 16, 2014 @ 21:42:36

        Thanks, Joanna. As for black tea, that’s usually what I drink! I like the caffeine in it. But I put sugar substitute and milk in it. Otherwise I wouldn’t like it either!

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  4. Joanna Aislinn
    Jan 16, 2014 @ 22:20:20

    @Tess: I’m thinking “normal” is a relative term, right? ;) actually, I’m very grateful for my boys. I still want to give up the younger one for Lent–hey! That’s coming up.

    @ Carrie: exactly how I love my coffee.

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