It was probably two years ago now, maybe three. We were out to dinner with friends and they’d mentioned that their son, a couple of years older than Katie, had told them that there was alcohol at a party he’d recently attended. He was in high school, which I remember at the time felt like a world (and a whole lot of time) away from where we were.
My friend went on to say that they’d spoken a lot about it. That she felt pretty confident that he’d make good decisions. And that they had a safety net in place for him just in case.
A friend of theirs had offered herself up as an emergency contact. He knew he could call her any time of night and she would come get him, no questions asked. She would then, if necessary, help him talk to his parents about what had happened.
If he ever felt unsafe or overwhelmed for any reason, he had someone to call who wasn’t his mom or dad. It was just one more layer of support, one more point of contact, one more port in a storm, even if the storm were one of his own making.
“And if you and she are both comfortable with it,” she’d said, “when the time comes, I’d be happy to be that person for Katie.”
(I may have cried. It’s what I do.)
A couple of months ago, I gave Katie our friend’s number. I told her that I hoped that she’d always feel comfortable calling me or Luau if she were in trouble, but that I also know that it’s easy to panic when you’re scared. That bad decisions have a tendency to compound one another, especially as a teenager, and that I remember what it feels like when the avalanche begins to rumble and all you can think to do is run.
I told her that I remember being terrified to go home. That I remember doing things in those moments from which I was incredibly lucky to have walked away alive. I told her that she ALWAYS has a far better option.
And then I patted myself on the back, thinking that I was so far ahead of the game.
There was alcohol at a party that Katie recently attended.
We’ve spoken a lot about it. I feel pretty confident that she’ll make good decisions. And now we have a safety net in place for her, one more layer of support, one more point of contact, one more port in a storm … just in case.