As a father, I sometimes reflect on some of the decisions I made as a youth and I get scared. What if my kids have the same propensities to make dumb dangerous decisions as I did when I was young? When Addie was born, she mostly looked like me. My friends would jokingly ask Casey if she ever considered having a paternity test to ensure that she was Addie’s mother. Addie also likes to keep things organized and she has mastered the art of thinking like a lawyer. Both of those traits came from me. Because she has picked up some of my traits, I can only presume that she has also picked up some of my less admirable traits. That presumption is what is at the center of my fear when I reflect on the decisions I made when I was young.
When I was younger, I honestly believed I was invincible. When I say “younger,” I mean from four years old to twenty years old. For example, at the age of seventeen, my future college roommate and I drove eight hours to visit our future college and to make living arrangements for the fall. When we returned home my friend told my mother that I had driven approximately twenty to twenty-five miles per hour over the speed limit the entire trip. To which my mother turned to me and asked, “what if you had gotten in an accident at that speed, you would be dead.” I quickly and confidently responded, “I can’t die mom, I’m too young.” I then turned and walked out of the room without a second thought about it.
Following winter break of my freshman year in college, my roommate, my cousin and I were all traveling from our hometown back to college. At that time I drove a 1973 Chevy Silverado truck with extremely loose steering and only one working wiper blade. The only operative wiper blade was located on the passenger side of the windshield. In the middle of our trip a large snowstorm hit Utah which caused the roads to be covered in approximately twelve inches of snow. The driver’s side of the windshield was also covered in what seemed to be twelve inches of snow. Fortunately, I was following a semi-truck that was carving a path through the snow at a twenty-five mile per hour pace.
At that point, I should have exited the freeway as soon as possible or pulled over to the side of the road until the storm passed and the snowplows could clear the road. On the other hand, I needed to get back to college so I could make it to Denny’s on time with all my friends. In my mind, and in the minds of the other occupants of the truck, the decision was a no-brainer–we had to get back home ASAP so we could make it to Denny’s on time. I promptly pressed on the gas and proceeded to pass the semi-truck cutting our path through the snow and I sped up to fifty miles per hour. I drove the next three hours not being able to see one bit of the road in snow approximately twelve inches deep while my roommate and cousin shouted to me from the passenger side of the truck, “a little left,” “a little right,” and “there’s a bend coming up.”
Thankfully we did not get into an accident—as a side bonus, we made it to Denny’s on time. Needless to say, Addie and I will be having a very strict conversation about driving conditions and proper decisions when she is allowed to get her driver’s license when she turns twenty-one.
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