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8/1/08

One more too many

Somewhere, in a house not far from here, a mother weeps for her son.

On Wednesday, an '08 graduate from our high school, lost control of his vehicle and died from the injuries he sustained as a result from being thrown. When officers arrived on the scene, he was 200 feet from his truck, face down in gravel. A lethal combination of drugs, alcohol, and extreme speed finally caught up with this boy who thought he was invincible. He died on the way to the hospital. His heart, defective from birth, took quite an impact and the bleeding was uncontrollable.

I had that boy in class two years ago. He was the class clown, or thought he was anyway. A sweet kid, but his childhood was misguided and a bit strained. It's a shame that he chose activities that have proven so deadly in the past.

In the fall of 2005, a girl and her friend were speeding down a similar country road. There was some drinking. Being the first week of fall break, perhaps they felt liberated. The girl, who was 16 years old and had only had her license two weeks, lost control, hit a tree and died on impact. The friend survived.

The next January, four kids, aged from 14-17 were out in the wee hours of the morning. They had been at auto shop that one of the boys' dad owned. The story gets sketchy as to how, but somehow the police were summoned and there was a pursuit. The truck crashed and two of the kids were thrown. They both died. The girl was 14 and the boy was 17. The other two kids, another boy (the driver) and another girl survived. Drugs and alcohol were involved.

The list goes on. At least one kid -- just from our high-- has died as a result of "doing something they shouldn't have" for the last five years.

Drugs.

Alcohol.

Both.

Speeding.

Sneaking around.

Lying.

My fifteen-year-old daughter is sitting in a room with her friend of the same age. I am sure they are talking on all manner of things girly. They both have boyfriends.

My mind does not want to go to there.

I am probably not the best example. My daughter knows that I conceived her when I was just 17. She knows that he was my first. She knows [now] that it wasn't because the birth control failed, (there wasn't used that particular) and that I wasn't "in love" with him, (thought was at the time) and that we had only been dating three months when I got pregnant (no, it wasn't on purpose).

She also knows [now] that I didn't party. I have never tried any kind of recreational drug. That, I never went out and drank at someone's house.

But, she is different than I was. She is very social. Where we live is different than where I grew up. There is much more peer pressure than was "in my day." When I found out I was pregnant in 1992, it was the beginning of my senior year. There was one other girl that found out at the same time. And even then it was a big deal. She stayed at school; my parents withdrew me and I went to another school at night, so I could graduate in December. (And I did.)

Today, I could walk into her school, and find at least ten girls that are pregnant; maybe a dozen more that already have babies.

Cigarettes, drugs and alcohol are a weekend staple. When I worked at the high school, they educated me as much as I did them. Smoking pot with parents was the norm. They knew which cashier at the Shell Station would sell them beer and who's older brother (and a few times, Dad) would get the liquor.

How do we make sure we can keep these babies safe, save from locking them in a bubble? I actually said the words to my husband, "If getting pregnant is the worse thing that happens..." He, of course, nearly passed out at the thought.

Even after she graduates, we have to do this two. more. times. I am scared. Taking the "It won't happen to me" attitude will get us nowhere. Spoiling them will do more harm than good. Being the "hip" parent could come at a price.

How do we guarantee that tomorrow we are not the ones crying?

4 comments:

Kelsey S said...

Hugs to you!

Kelsey
mysweetlife.org

The Kept Woman said...

I found you at Nerd Girl's and had to come by b/c you said on a day off you would clean...I have a whole house that I can offer up to you if you're ever hard up for entertainment. ;)

Now, onto the more serious- This was a great post. I'm so glad I DID stop by. It's interesting to hear from those who reach points in life ahead of you (my girls are only 3 and 4 years old)- while I dread the teenage years I love hearing what and how mums before me deal with the heavy issues. Thank you.

Kimberly said...

Your post raises so many good questions... ones that I am thankful I do not yet have to face... I wonder what it will be like in this world for our kids 15 years from now?

Take care!

marigold said...

Tough post Heather! I don't know the answer to your questions either. So much sadness that kids today have to face. And yet, they don't always learn from the lesson. I just want to be the best example to the young kids in my life, that you can totally rock without screwing up your life in the process. I'm with you, though. Been there, done that, wrote a blog about it. =)

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