Trust Those You Love

My high school years were spent in snowy central NY. There was not much for high school kids to do on winter evenings other than hangout and drink at different houses when parents were away. One snowy February evening, a boy I liked (not even a boyfriend) asked me if he could take my car for a beer run.

The car I was driving was my mother’s car. It was her first new car with no miles on it and it was only two weeks old. Everyone knows how it feels when that voice inside sets off a warning. I heard the voice, but it was quickly silenced by a very cute smile and wisp of blonde hair – I handed over the keys.

About 2 hours later, party still going strong, my parents called asking if I was OK. They received a call from the local police saying a car registered to them had slid off the road and had been abandoned. I told them it was a mistake and that I was with my friends. They believed me.

Later that night, my friend made his way back to the party and did not tell me he had wrecked my mother’s car and had left it in a field. The next day after everyone had slept it off at the party house, I discovered my mother’s car had been destroyed. Thank goodness no one had been hurt.

My friend (not such a great friend) was really scared about driving drunk and leaving the scene of an accident. He convinced me to lie to the police and my parents. We made up this elaborate tale about how the car had been taken from the party. The lie helped my friend avoid facing the music with the local police, but my parents knew I was lying.

Years later they told me that was the first time they remember losing trust and faith in me to do the right thing. My parents told me that after that night it was hard for them to trust me to be honest or use sound judgment. Making it worse, they became very nervous that if I was ever in real trouble, I would not have the sense to trust them to help me make it better. They endlessly pried and poked and reiterated their need to be kept in the loop even after I felt like I had grown and learned from the experience. It was not great for our relationship.

If I could have that evening back and could only change one thing – I would not change the snow, would not change irresponsible decision, would not change the destruction of property – I would have told my parents the truth and saved us all from a shadow of doubt and worry that colored my last few years living with two people who meant so much to me.

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