A few months ago I picked him up from a friend's house and he smelled faintly of alcohol. I didn't initially trust my nose, though, because I haven't had a drink in twenty-four years, and I'm not often around people who are drinking. The next day I mentioned it in passing and he accidentally admitted that he and his friends had been playing beer pong. I gave him my speech about drinking, which touches on these key points:
When you drink at someone's house and the adult is not there, you place the adult at risk of losing said home, because it is illegal for minors to drink.
Teenage brains are still growing. Alcohol affects the teenage brain differently than the adult brain. This is dangerous.
Alcohol compromises everyone's ability to make smart decisions. This is not safe, especially for teenage boys, whose bodies are already a seething cauldron of mind-jumbling hormones.
Again, it is illegal for minors to drink, and the police are not forgiving. An arrest compromises your future.
Three weeks later, he called me from the woods. He was supposed to be at a friend's house.
"Don't get mad, but we need you to come get us. Seven is sick."
I have told the boys I will always get them no matter where they are, or what they've been doing, so I drove to the edge of the woods. Two was there with five friends, all in various stages of inebriation. I had brought paper towels and plastic bags, which Seven promptly put to good use. The friends had made plans to sleep at Seven's house, because his mother is a night-duty nurse and wasn't home. I quickly informed them that wouldn't be happening, and told them all to start figuring out how they were getting back to their houses. Because they had all been drinking, this freaked them out a bit.
I got home, brought Seven inside, and put him to bed with a garbage can beside him. The Captain volunteered to drive the other knuckleheads home. The next morning I texted Seven's mother and told her what had happened, and informed Two he wouldn't be sleeping over anyone's house ever again. He asked what he would have to do to get us to trust him, and I told him I would know when it happened.
Three weeks ago, Two wanted to go for a bike ride with his friend. We had two functioning bikes in the garage, one of which had spotty brakes that we fixed on the spot. He took off down our hill with his friend, and the brakes failed as he turned the corner. He ran into the back of the friend's bike and flipped over the handlebars onto the street. He showed up in the driveway ten minutes later with his shirt and arm shredded. If you are squeamish, look away. If you would like to warn your teenagers about being reckless, feel free to share these photos.
Plus a puncture wound for added flavor.
Even after a week of awesome burn cream from the doctor, he still looked like this:
If you tell me you were wearing a helmet, I assume your head was protected. If I knew it wasn't, I would have taken you to a hospital. You could have had a closed-brain injury, or a bleed, and I would have found your cold, lifeless body the next day. Lying to me places you in jeopardy.
Similarly, if you tell me you are going to be at point A, and you are, in fact, at point Q, then I don't know how to find you in case of an emergency. And don't tell me you have your phone, because you only answer it fifty-percent of the time. Lying to me places you in jeopardy.
If you were wondering what you had to do to gain my trust, the answer is: Not that.
Two is still recovering from his concussion.
Why are they so stupid?