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I DID NOT DRIVE AT ST. KATES

August 27, 2017

 

“All he needed was a wheel in his hand and four on the road.”  Jack Kerouac

 

17 year old teenage boys long for the open road.  I did.  When I was 17, I roamed the streets of Mankato in a 1969 Camaro packed with my friends.  I loved to be behind the wheel.

 

Friendship.

Louie is 17 and not able to drive because of this stupid eye disease.  I guess we’ve always known he would give it a try.  I would if I were in his shoes.  A couple of years ago, I told my friend Toby that he needs to get a safe car because I knew Louie’s first experience behind the wheel would be with Toby’s daughter - his friend Lily by his side.  I knew this was coming.  The other day, Toby called me and said “it happened, Louie went for a drive with Lily at St. Kates.”  No shock, too late to be nervous – just a feeling of relief that he drove with his oldest friend and the kids and the car are fine.

 

Risk.

I know that taking a risk is critical to growth.  But as a dad, risk get’s compounded when you are the parent of teenagers – and maybe even a little more when you have a teenager dealing with blindness.  As a dad, I’m open to a certain level of risk.  We’ve been through skiing, skateboarding, biking and power tools – but driving?

 

Trust.

Parental responsibility puts us in the uneasy role of encouraging our kids to become self-sufficient while trying to help them avoid disaster.  My daily challenge is to find the right balance between risk and responsible parenting.  For me, it’s the hardest part of being a dad.  Physical complications like blindness can quickly tip the balance.  I hope for success and try to accept failure.  Sometimes I get it right, sometimes I don’t.  My impression of ‘balance’ is different than Louie’s.

 

I don’t have the answers.  I do know that I love my family, I trust my kids and there is power in lifelong friendships.

 

Oh, Louie has still not admitted that it happened.  It must not have been at St. Kates – when asked, all he says is “I did not drive at St. Kates.”

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