So last night I had to go to a “commitment ceremony” at the Middle School for the tall kid. I’m sorry, but watching sixth grader after sixth grader solemnly vow NEVAH to drink alcohol caused much eye-rolling on my part (even though they had cake). Now, don’t get me wrong. I think programs like that are important in that they encourage dialogue at home, but we don’t do the black and white thing. Any parent who says “Okay, he’s sworn never, ever to drink alcholol, so that’s good and I don’t have to worry now” is a total moron. Teen years are a really funky, ever-changing shade of grey, and he will drink. All we want is a promise to call home for a ride if the driver was drinking—all punishments for partying waived if he calls us instead of getting in the car.
Of course having that conversation with an eleven year old boy is a lot of fun. (The husband and I were both in on it, so I’ll condense our parts as “parent”.)
Parent: So what do you do if the friend who drove you has been drinking?
Tall Kid: Beat him up, take his keys and steal his car.
Parent: Umm, or you could use your cell phone to—
Tall Kid: I don’t have a cell phone.
Parent: You will when you’re old enough to go out at night. And you’ll use it to do what?
Tall Kid: Oooh, I know! I’ll call the police and have him arrested!
Parent: Oh good. Because then when your former friends are done kicking the crap out of you and you’re totally ostracized, we won’t have to worry about you going to any parties anymore. How did I have a kid who’s such a geek?
Tall Kid: I prefer dork.
Parent: Shut up and listen. If whoever is driving drinks, you call us to come and get you. We’ll even pick you up down the block so nobody sees us.
Tall Kid: I don’t know our phone number.
Parent: How do you not know our phone number?
Tall Kid: I don’t call here. I live here.
Parent: We’ll program it into your cell phone.
Tall Kid: What if I don’t have a signal?
Parent: Forget it. When you’re a teenager you can stay home and memorize wikipedia and we’ll go out drinking.
Tall Kid: Okay. Hey, did you know there are bodies buried in the Great Wall of China?