When your kids are young, you have a lot of control over who they choose as friends -because they are the children of your friends. As they get older, this safe method of controlled interaction falls by the wayside. They pick their friends, not you. And to add insult to injury, they decide social events and socializing in general are best executed in your absence.
This seemed to come up on me suddenly. I took note of the erosion of control I had but it didn’t really hit home until my son decided one ordinary Friday that he was going with his friends and just needed to be dropped off.
Dropped off? You mean somewhere not on our street? You mean out in the world? You mean I’m supposed to stop the car, you get out, and I drive away?
I needed Valium.
As a parent you know this day is coming. And let’s be honest, there were times you fantasized about this day. There were days your kids established residence in the crack of your ass and the idea of them wandering out into the world without you seemed like a five star resort vacation.
But then they actually do it!
Good God, you think, did you prepare them enough? I mean you talked about marijuana, but at the time they were making a Lego dinosaur. You talked about the dangers of unprotected and casual sex but that was after a particularly saucy episode of Scooby Doo. But now, this all seems too real. The rubber is hitting the road. The poop is hitting the fan. The jig is up!
As my husband pulled the car to the curb to let my son out, I looked out at the throng of teenage primordial ooze before us and I had one last bit of advice. My son, sensing a percolating smother volcano, jumped out of the car and was now about ten feet away. Desperate and undaunted, I shouted after him, “Don’t do heroin!”
My husband shook his head in dismay but not in disbelief.
I settled back in the passenger seat and confessed, “I saw an episode about heroin on Sixty Minutes.”
“I’m not sure you had to tell him about that now,” he said.
“I did. I do have to tell him now.”