I am going to be a Grandmother..again!
*Gasp* I hear....she's so young.
I am actually a step-grandmother to two teenagers, and now one more on the way,( he/she is percolating nicely, and due next May).
I met the first two when I was dating their Grandpa...
" So, do we call you Grandma?" said the eldest
"No!" I said "I'm Grandpa's special friend..." And so Grandma I have remained ever since.
They're both basically good kids, but like all teenagers they have their less adorable moments. Like last summer, when the oldest boy decided to go camping for the weekend.
Camping by the river is a rite of passage for most teenagers in our part of world, they build a fire, maybe do a little fishing....but the main objective of the entire adventure is to drink alcohol away from the prying eyes of parents and the police.
Grandpa picked up our boy on Sunday morning.
One look at him, and I said......"You're hungover. What did you drink?"
"OK", I said, where did you get the alcohol?" ..bearing in mind that he's underage.
In thirty seconds he caved in to interrogation......and threw Grandpa under the bus..
My husband argued the point..."He's seventeen, he's going to drink anyway, this is better than him stealing it from the liquor cabinet, and it was only 6 ciders...."
Exasperated with my husband, (who's known in our family as "Uncle Buck") and determined to "teach a lesson" to my white faced, queasy Grandson, I gave him a bottle of water, and set him to work in the garden.
"If you're old enough to drink, you're old enough to deal with the hangover..."
It wasn't a happy day for any of us....
Grandson felt like shit.
Grandpa got shit from me for providing the booze.
And I felt like shit.......because I had my own hangover going on....
So, you might think, that's a fairly typical scenario right? Sure it is! Teenagers do this all the time.
But, just for kicks, let's run the scene again, but this time, let's change the substance....
Grandpa picks up Grandson....
Me : "Oh my God, you look like crap! What have you been taking...
Me "Oh sure....you've been smoking crack haven't you!
Grandson " Just a tiny bit...
Me "Where did you get it?
Grandson says nothing, but glances at Grandpa....
Me "Oh you've got to be kidding....YOU gave him the crack?"
Grandpa "Well, he was going to try it anyway, this way at least he gets the good shit, not the stuff laced with rat poison..."
Not quite the same is it?
There's no way that any decent parent or family member would provide their teenagers with illegal harmful addictive drugs, would they?
Yet, it's completely acceptable, even expected, that teenagers will experiment with alcohol.
First of all, it's hard to encourage teenagers away from alcohol, when we're drinking ourselves.
I was hardly in a position to "discipline" my Grandson when I had imbibed a bottle and half of "Grandma Juice" the night before and was nursing my own regular hangover.
Teenagers smell hypocrisy quicker than a shark senses blood, so that would have back fired, also regardless of how rebellious and anti-establishment most teenagers like to view themselves, they feel most comfortable doing what is acceptable and normal........
Lastly, we don't really worry about alcohol, do we? It's not like it's hard drugs...like crack cocaine, or heroin...we all know about the horrors of drug addiction, the life of crime, the festering sores, the battle to get clean...
Yet, consider this....
In 2013, 55,000 people in the US died from addiction/overdose of crack cocaine, heroin, other illegal drug and prescription drugs ....combined
In the same year, 88,000 people died from alcoholism, PLUS another 11,000 people died in alcohol related driving instances.
In every year, about 18% of suicides are attributed to alcohol, alcoholics are 120 times more likely to commit suicide than any other sector of the community.....
Since I've been sober, last summer's "insignificant" incident has bothered me. A Lot.
Luckily, our Grandson is a lot smarter than his grandparent. He's into sports, healthy eating, and as far as we know, he doesn't drink.
It's tough, in a society that not only condones alcohol, it promotes it, and sobriety is seen as not normal.
I am hoping, with my small sphere of influence, to change that.
At least, for this new grandchild, by the time he or she grows up, I won't have become
No, I'll be.....
"Sober - SuperCool - impossibly-young-looking-Grandma"
And hopefully, that will be the "new normal"
(I got all the stats from National Institute on Alcohol and Alcoholism, and The National Institute of Drug Abuse...just so you know I didn't make it up).
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