Driving under the influence
There are moments in a lifetime which leaves us truly speechless. There are minutes in a lifetime, than can take our breath away. Then there are the seconds in life which seem to stop time. Sometimes we can experience all of these moments simultaneously with the arrival of the 3 am phone call.
Our personal history dictates that the 3 am phone call could be the result of a drunken booty call, in which we can only hope the caller will not remember this embarrassing moment. As middle aged children, we hope and pray that it is not a relative or neighbor calling us about our parents. As parents we are prayerful that it is not the police calling about our child.
Over the weekend, the intensive labor of the birthing of the 2012 New Year, many parents saw their children heading out with friends to celebrate and be young. Some of us older partiers headed into the nighttime to join in the New Year festivities with friends. In the wee hours of the morning we saw the best in human nature and the worst, either in the bathroom worshipping the Porcelain Goddess or mangled in a scrap heap on the side of road. At 3 am on Friday night, my client received a 3 am phone call. On Monday, she was still reliving the fear from the seconds in which she felt her heart stop.
Her 3 am phone call was in fact the Richmond County Sheriff’s Department. At the sound of the officer’s identification, she immediately stopped breathing. When she heard her son’s name, she started to cry. When the officer told her that her son had been taken to jail, she started to scream. The remaining details were a blur.
As parents, this is one of our worst nightmares. Her son had been arrested for drunk driving. By all that is Holy, there was no accident, there were no causalities, and fate had been kind on this night. However, an ounce of prevention is always worth a pound of cure.
I began to think about my own son and his whereabouts on the dawning of the New Year. My husband and I have been very cautious with his flow into manhood. Although he is about to turn 21, he still has a 1 am curfew. I know it may sound silly in this day and age, but my personal history has dictated that the only exciting things that happen after 1 am are crime statistics. If you are safe and sound in your home and bed, you have just reduced your probability of becoming a statistical entry in the log book.
My heart goes out to any parent, child or former love that has ever received the 3 am call. It is in our nature to fear the worst. It is in our mental vaults that the call is bad news. We cannot seal a protective casing around our children just as parents did not seal one around us. What we can do is teach. Teach our children to be safe, use good judgment and to consider their futures. There are many who wish us well, but there are equally as many who wish us harm and sometimes, it is just for the benefit of their amusement or the joy in watching you fall. But more importantly, there is no worse feeling than a 3 am phone call, and seconds that it can age you with worry, fear and dread.
- Parental Quandaries: Drinking (or Not) in the Basement, Resolved (parenting.blogs.nytimes.com)
- Yesterday you most likely you said to someone “HAPPY NEW YEAR” (brusharbors.wordpress.com)