Over the winter school break, five teens in my area decided to steal one of daddyâ€™s cars and go joy-riding. Fair enough. I think we all did stupid stuff when we were 13-15 (and 16 and 17 and 18 and 21 and 25 and 35â€¦). You would expect them to get busted, grounded and reminded of it when they turn into parents of teens, right? Not in this case. On this night, the 14 year old unlicensed driver decided it would be funny to try to scare the others in the vehicle by driving at a very high rate of speed and jerking the steering wheel. He hit a curb, plowed into a tree and the car burst into flames. He died that night. Four others were able to get out of the car. One more died this past weekend. He lived on my block. I did not know him personally. My kids are three years old and under, so the 14 year old set doesnâ€™t bat an eye our way when passing us on the sidewalk.
Life isnâ€™t supposed to be complicated or tragic for children. Tell me you didnâ€™t do stupid things when you were a teenager. Tell me you havenâ€™t done stupid things as an adult. Iâ€™d like to think Iâ€™m not the only one. And Iâ€™d like to think that by Godâ€™s grace Iâ€™ve had the opportunity to learn (or not) from the things Iâ€™ve done. I have no regrets in life because I think I am an amazing compilation of goofs and triumphs that makes up â€œme.â€ But not everyone is lucky enough to look back on life like this.
So what do I do? What would you do? There is nothing to do. You can talk a blue streak to your kids, but ultimately it is up to them to make wise or foolish decisions. What you say does matter, but during those years of growth spurts and explosive hormones unfortunately, what their friends say matters too.
I wish this were the only thing thatâ€™s keeping me up at night, but itâ€™s not. The other thing is that my own child has had her fair share of obstacles to deal with in her short life. Sheâ€™s an ebullient, brilliant, beautiful ball of energy who struggles with focus issuesâ€¦ in a nutshell, sheâ€™s an intense little lady for three years of age. We know her triggers and we are constantly working on ways to introduce her to resources to help her solve problems or handle new situations with the least amount of stress. Thatâ€™s my job and I am grateful to have it and I wouldnâ€™t change her for the world. Unfortunately, my job just got harder. Sheâ€™s been having seizures. Three in the past week, to be exact. Not the scary kind (grand mall) or the kinda get your wondering kind (Petit mal or absence seizures), but seizures nonetheless. Iâ€™m not a medical doctor (or any kind of doctor), but the symptoms most closely resemble this: Benign Rolandic Epilepsy. If this is indeed what she has, it should hopefully resolve by puberty (GREAT! Just in time for her to make stupid mistakes). If not, we should know more after our trip to the pediatric neurologist (pending scheduling on their end). Itâ€™s not the end of the world. Itâ€™s not the end of her world, but Iâ€™m angry nonetheless.