Tuesday, October 25, 2011
When I was studying opera in college, there was one particular person that stayed with me in my memory.
Her name was Betty.
She was much older than most of the students...probably in her late 40's.
The reason she stays in my memory is not because she was vocally gifted, she wasn't, really...I remember her because one day we were talking and I asked why she always had some kind of M.A.D.D paraphernalia on her, be it a bag or a pin or such.
Turns out that she had not one, but TWO children killed by drunk drivers.
In SEPARATE incidences, years apart.
And BOTH of the people driving drunk were underage drinkers.
I've thought an awful lot about her over the years...especially after losing my own little one.
You have a lot of fear as a parent anyway, but I think I have a LOT more fear and worry and over-protectiveness that happens since Matthew died than I would have probably had otherwise.
I've come to the internet to talk about a lot of things that worry me, especially as a parent. I've asked you if you would buy condoms for your kids, I have asked you if I should let my 12-year-old start riding the bus to go places by himself, we've discussed how to talk to your kids about things like death and religion, what to do about 'introducing' my toddler to the big brother who passed away that he will never know, and how to get a child to be less emotionally attached to objects (Dude. I held a funeral for a balloon with a face on it that popped. It was a big problem.) And every time your feedback has been helpful to me. There is something about broaching a subject and having a discussion with people online that is really beneficial for me in lots of ways. For whatever reason, it often helps me come to, or solidify a decision. Maybe that is why I have been blogging so long, who knows?
So, today we have another topic that has been weighing on my mind for the last, oh, FIFTEEN YEARS or so.
(To continue reading click here)
James just turned 15 and started high school this year.
In less than a year's time he will be driving.
You have no idea how much this scares the holy hell out of me as a parent.
For so many reasons.
ENTER UNDERAGE DRINKING.
MIX THAT WITH DRIVING.
EQUALS THE EQUATION OF LORALEE FREAKING THE FREAKING FREAK OUT.
So, here is the thing.
I was a GOOD kid in high school.
I didn't smoke.
I didn't do drugs.
(CONTRARY to the opinion of my parents who told me not long ago that "We always just assumed you were on drugs". Mmmm....k, thanks?!) (Seriously, what does one DO with that information?) (Yeah, I may be a bit eccentric at times, but damn...) (Actually, I was not only never on drugs, I was probably the most naive person in the WORLD about drugs. For reals.) (In fact, the first time drugs came on my radar I was in college, walking late at night with a group of people and someone commented "WOW, someone is hitting the marijuana HARD tonight!" and I sniffed the air and BRILLIANTLY EXCLAIMED, "Man. That smells like burning weeds." Yes. I know. )
I also didn't drink as a teenager.
(Well, that is not entirely true. I full on cop to underage drinking exactly ONCE, but I was in college.) (Not that that is any excuse, mind you.) (I totally bowed to peer pressure.) (I had a roommate from Orange County.) (Not that Orange County is full of teenage lushes or anything, but ya know...she was about a million times more experienced than the chick from Bountiful, Utah, ya know?) (She came home from a trip across the state line to Idaho with a bottle of vodka and a gallon of orange juice and I was introduced to The Screwdriver.)(Man, was I drunk.) (It was awful.) (I didn't know you were, um, supposed to drink water.)(I made a 2 HOUR drunk dial phone call (LONG DISTANCE ON A COLLEGE BUDGET, MIND YOU) to my ex-boyfriend.)(I vaguely recall alternating hysterical crying with throwing up.)(I'm also pretty sure I told the very scared looking pizza delivery guy that I wanted to have his babies.) (Or something.)(And I woke up with the most horrible and unbelievable hangover EVER EXPERIENCED.)(I literally puked for 4-days.)(It took me about 4-years before I would even TOUCH orange juice.) (And another, oh...11-years before I touched another drop of alcohol.)(So, I would say that was a freaking powerful lesson, no?)
Where was I again?
Oh, yes...teen drinking.
It scares the living crap out of me.
I have seen what happens to the lives and futures of kids who have drinking and drug issues as teens.
It's a life ruiner.
And that is if you are lucky enough to STAY alive, unlike Betty's children.
I worry that when James starts driving next year, I will think of them most of the times he walks out the door with the keys until he is back safe at home.
So, what to do?
Well, honestly...my husband and I have spent a freakish amount of time discussing things like this and I didn't really think there was much we could actually DO in this situation other then just monitor the best we could as parents.
Then I got an email that perked my interest...it was about a personal breathalyzer.
And not just a breathalyzer...it's the first one of its kind to be able to remotely access the information. Your kid blows in the straw and it takes a full face photo of the person blowing into the straw, a GPS location of where they tested, a time stamp and their alcohol level, then it's sent to a smart phone or email address within seconds:
I didn't know anything like this existed.
And it seems pretty darn fool proof in the technology.
(Although my geeky-I-can-beat-any-system-husband wonders about that.) (But you are talking about a guy who was an EXTREMELY precocious kid who was so intellectually board that he did, um, interesting things in his youth to liven things up.) (Like taking his parent's van out at night AT THE FREAKING AGE OF TWELVE to joyride around Logan listening to Tiffany in his Member's Only jacket.) (SEE THE THINGS I HAVE TO WORRY ABOUT GENETICALLY WITH MY CHILDREN, DUDES?!)
And it opened up a whole SLEW of questions for my husband and I. (You know, aside from that whole "I could probably create some method to bypass it because I am just that smart and just give me time, woman!" conversation.)(Which, no offense, I just doubt highly.)
Would we use something like this on our kids? I mean...I do NOT believe that a teen's privacy is sacrosanct but...I also know that trust and privacy are important.
Talking to your kid (repeatedly) about things like this is important. My kids (right now, that is) don't strike me as kids that want to experiment with it. They are more interested in Mormonism (no drinking with that) and they lecture me when I curse. And really...where we live being sober is the cool thing to do. But I also fear it can mean being too naive about drinking (like I was) and lead to some really crappy situations, too.
Humans are humans.
Kids are kids.
And teens, as well all know, can be into things at 17 that they aren't interested in at 15.
And my kid's lives and futures are too important to just rely utterly that they would never try it...or never drink and drive.
What the hell to do?
I think after a lot of discussion I have come to a couple of conclusions. I don't think something like this product will be purchased before I allow him to drive. I have built up enough trust in enough situations that I don't think I would use it right from the get go.
I am not THAT naive...I know that if someone is that hell bent to do something, eventually they WILL find a way.
And if I had one WHIFF that there was a problem?
That he had tried drinking?
That he had close friends experimenting with alcohol? (Because anyone who has been a teen knows that your friends influence you FAR more than anything else as a teen.) (After members of the opposite sex, of course.)
AND I WOULD HAVE HIM BLOWING IN TO THIS SUCKER EVERY FREAKING TIME HE LEFT THE HOUSE. (Assuming he wasn't grounded until the end of time, that is.)
If I were a teen and I had to participate in it, I would HATE it utterly but as a parent, I don't really care how much I would have hated it as a kid.
I'd do it and have zero qualms about it.
My goal is neither to have them emerge as non-drinking adults or adults who do drink...my goal is just to have them stay as unharmed as possible legally, physically and emotionally until they become responsible adults.
I know, better than most, that at the end of the day there is only so much you can do to really protect your children.
That doesn't mean I will not freaking TRY as hard as I can, you know?
Thanks to SoberLink for sponsoring this discussion. We'd love to hear your take and experiences about teen drinking, driving and if you were also really, really stupid in college. Or ya know...when you were twelve. ;)
P.S. My husband would like me to clarify that not only was he very stupid and young at twelve, but that he is now an EXTREMELY upstanding and responsible person who never drank underage nor did drugs of any kind.
P.P.S. I am also supposed to mention that he was NOT "joy riding" around Logan. His parents were out of town and he wanted to return an overdue video and his bike tires were flat. (It conjures up images of Anthony Micheal Hall having a fake ID to vote, no?)
P.P.P.S. Sigh...AND he neither owned a Members Only jacket NOR listened to Tiffany.
P.P.P.P.S. Way to ruin a perfectly AWESOME visual image with honesty, Jonathan.
Wednesday, December 22, 2010
This is a sponsored review from BlogHer and MasterCard MarketPlace.
I have always had to be very money conscious when I shop and I am always on
the look out for ways to stretch a dollar or nab a great deal.
I have fallen IN LOVE with online shopping. There is no better place PERIOD
to find the best bang for your buck. So, I was very excited when BlogHer
offered me the opportunity to check out MasterCard MarketPlace.
It's a pretty sweet site, people. It's very easy to sign up, their tutorials
and help section is excellent and holy deals GALORE, Batman! There are great
savings that happen all year round, but there are some especially great
deals during the holiday season.
FOR example...I was having fun, browsing around, when I saw that there was
an offer for Buy.com.(I love this site.) I clicked over and lo and behold!
I saw them.
Diamond stud earrings.
I have wanted diamond stud earrings for as long as I can remember
(especially wrapped up under my Christmas tree!) but I have never been able
to afford them.
And there was a GORGEOUS pair that retailed for $500 that had been marked
down to $99 bucks. (This offer was available when my post went live but may no longer be available.)
With all of my discounts, I ended up with 1/3 carat diamond earrings for $75 bucks.
HOW AWESOME IS THAT?
For the holiday season every day (until December 24th) at 1pm EST,
MasterCard® cardholders can take advantage of Holiday Overwhelming offers
(OO) at 50% off on top brands by registering at MasterCard MarketPlace.
It's Black Friday 7-days a week, people.
Since these offers go so quickly, so I would recommend signing up for the
email alerts to get notice of them in your inbox. (Also, practice typing...some of
these offers go FAST and typing the word verification in time can be
Like I announced in the title, BlogHer is giving away a $100 MasterCard (and
just think how much further it would go on MasterCard MarketPlace, y'all!)
Check out the official rules on BlogHer and make sure you go here for more
chances to win!
No duplicate comments.
You may receive (2) total entries by selecting from the following entry
a) Leave a comment in response to the sweepstakes prompt on this post
b) Tweet about this promotion and leave the URL to that tweet in a comment
on this post
c) Blog about this promotion and leave the URL to that post in a comment on
d) Read the official rules for alternate form of entry.
Sweepstakes ends 5 PM PST on December 31, 2010.
This giveaway is open to US Residents age 18 or older.
Winners will be selected via random draw, and will be notified by e-mail.
You have 72 hours to get back to me, otherwise a new winner will be
The Official Rules are available here.
Monday, December 20, 2010
This is a compensated review by BlogHer.
I'm totally stoked to be a part of BlogHer's iPad giveaway.
As many of you know, BlogHer recently re-designed their site and added a whole bunch of new features and improvements. (Please ignore the eleventyhundred tabs I keep open at the top of my browser, m'kay?)
I'd like to tell you about a couple of them that are my particular favorites.
Series and Features: I love this. I actually did a series on homeschooling for BlogHer and I like that there are things that are not just stand alone posts, but a series of information that we can look forward to and rely on.
Most Popular: This is probably my favorite addition to BlogHer. It tells you which posts are hottest in regards to comments, traffic and "sparkles" (favorites) from readers. It is handy to quickly check out what 'the buzz' is in the BlogHer world!
I LOVE BlogHer. And I hope that you do, too! And if you don't, I hope you get to know it better, because I think you'll fall in love with it, too. It's a terrific community and I couldn't be prouder to be a part of it!
Now for the fun part! BlogHer is giving away an iPad. Click here to enter and read the rules. It runs until December 26th! Good luck! I hope you win!
COMMENTS OFF (You know, so you can go enter over there!!!)