Seriously, Only Seven and a Half Hours

Seven and a half hours. That’s how long I had my driver’s license before I wrecked my mom’s car.

Yes, seriously. But hear me out. There’s much more to the story. March 28, 1980. A Friday night. I remember it like it was yesterday because it was (plus or minus 42 years). 🙂

I’ve got my newly minted WA DL and I’m ready to own this town. Quick trip to pick up some buddies to ride along and we’re on our way (of note: a bunch of 16-year-olds in a car with a brand new driver, what could go wrong?).

Anyway. There used to be a stop sign at NE 139th and 10th (and not much else out there back then, nearly 20 years before Fred Meyer and Skyview, etc). To make a long story short, the stop sign was somehow missed (blown through?) in the excitement of the moment. My car rudely introduced itself to a Jeep that actually had the right of way. Ooops.

Now I’m not going to go into all the sordid details of what happened after that, except to say I’m all but certain our new friend in the Jeep had stayed too long at Happy Hour and wanted nothing to do with reporting the event – because he immediately left the scene. So obviously that gave us permission to do the same. Of course, we then continued on to a party in Hazel Dell (yes, in the wrecked car), and yes, I did stop on the way to pick up another buddy (who for some reason declined to join us. No idea why??)

If you’re still here, I have a point. 🙂 I’m glad it happened. (Of course, most importantly I’m glad no one was hurt). But the experience gave me much-needed perspective later in life.

My kids have wrecked six (!) vehicles (including five that were totaled). Yes, seriously. All three kids had at least one wreck. Tough to blame them too much, as it seems to be hereditary (as also evidenced by Melanie’s work on her dad’s truck). At least Joshua was good enough to wreck his own car. But one kid totaled three rigs – two of which were mine! (not gonna call anyone out, Aaron). And one of them (who shall remain nameless, Liz) wrecked one of my rigs the VERY SAME DAY she got her license. I mean, who does that? Oh, wait. Forget I asked. 🙂

So as the kids were increasing our insurance premiums by leaps and bounds, I used these events as teachable moments. Don’t get me wrong, I was pissed and there were definitely repercussions and punishment handed down.

But in those moments, I thought way back to that March night in 1980, and I remembered what it was like to be young. To make mistakes. To learn. To grow. And my hope was that someday, as my kids became parents, they too would be able to react with discipline as warranted, but also with understanding as needed, remembering back to what it was like when they too were young.

Because you never know what’s going to happen the day your kid gets their license.

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