Kicking back on New Year's eve, around about 11:15 or so, and our doorbell rings.
It was our sixteen year old neighbor.
He was extremely upset.
I though someone had died.
But no, He just gotten his first traffic ticket on the way home from a New Year's Eve party. His parents were out at a party, and he was certain they were going to kill him when they found out about the ticket. We invited him in, listened to his story, offered what comforting words we could, and assured him that his parents would not kill him over a ticket. We explained that his parents would just be glad he was okay. Then Dan called his folks on their cell phone to break it to them gently. All ended well, the kid pulled himself together, fixed our computer for us (because he is a genius that way), and went back to his own house a little before midnight.
Fast forward to about one in the morning when Dan's cell phone rings.
He has wrecked his car on the way home from a New Year's eve party.
Odd, that sounds familiar. In his case, no ticket, because he ran into a tree, but the bumper has come off the car. Now it is suddenly our turn to practice what we were so fervently preaching to the neighbor kid only an hour earlier:
"its okay that you wrecked the car. We are just glad you are okay. It happens to everybody eventually."
Which, yeah, it's all true, but is not much comfort when faced with having to go out into the subzero in the early hours of New Year's Day to retrieve your bumper from the pavement, and then try to figure out how your kid is going to get to work and to pick up his brother every day without a car.
I think it was good that we got to practice on the neighbor though, because we were both pretty calm about the whole thing. I think the first time we went through the wrecked car scenario with one of our kids, it looked like the scene in Christmas Story where Ralphie's mom is talking on the phone to Flick's mother and telling him the terrible, awful word that Ralphie just said, and which he claims he heard from Flick. Ralphie's mom whispers the word into the phone, then holds the phone far away from her ear, as Flick's mother can be heard yelling through the phone- "WHAAAT? WHAAAT? HE SAID WHAAAAT?????" Compare that to my reaction to Will's wreck:
" You wrecked the car? That sucks. How was the party?"
Ask him. Those were my exact words.
The best part is, both boys are fine, both sets of parents have their sanity intact, and now Will gets to learn how to reattach a car bumper, which is a valuable life skill. 2016, you ain't got us beat yet.