“Excuse me, do you have a daughter named Heather? She is out in my car and isn’t feeling so great”

Probably one of the greatest understatements said from one parent to another.

I was in my grade 8th year, soccer practice cancelled and crushing on a boy who invited my friend and I over to his house. Not a bad decision initially but the added element of a stolen bottle of wine liquor elevated this to a full blown disaster.

Drunk and having been sick all over this boy’s house led to his mother (single at the time) driving me home to my father. Unceremoniously heaved over his shoulder, he carried me through the parking lot and upstairs where he cared for me throughout the night. Worried about blood alcohol poisoning, he slept little.

The next day, quiet in his disappointment, he explained the consequences of my actions. Grounded… tough but reasonable. It was his last pronouncement that I begged and pleaded to be released from. My sentence was to buy..with my own babysitting money a plant. Stay with me, the worse is yet to come. I am to deliver this plant to the mother of the boy whose house I got sick in. My father informed me that this woman was currently going through a tough custody battle and my actions could have jeopardized that.

I was mortified. Having always been an easy kid, not causing much trouble for my parents, the thought that I would be such a disappointment not only to them but to myself was an unfamiliar concept.

I will always remember the drive.

I can never forget the long walk up her drive. My head hung in shame.

I couldn’t have known until later that my mom, wanted to save me. She asked my dad if she could walk up to the house with me. He told her no.

“Brenda, we are here to comfort her when she comes back. But if we go to rescue without allowing her the opportunity to make amends on her own, what message do we give her?”

I suppose any parent hopes for the best outcome but he had to expect that the response might not be so positive. And still he sent me.

The door opened and the woman standing before me will forever be burned in my mind as the kindest, most gracious of people. She smiled gently as I cried through my prepared apology. “Did you learn your lesson?” She asked. Gulping back tears, I nodded yes. “Then, I’m glad you learned it here.”
She wrapped her arms around and I think I couldn’t have felt more ashamed. But the weight of guilt had been lifted.

I want to tell you I never drank again but lies should never been told to friends. I will say that I barely drank through my teenage years, the taste was always reminiscent of that one night.

My father’s lesson taught me well. He has always known that life is filled with harsh realities and he fought to make me strong. Perhaps, more importantly though, he strove to make me fair and kind.

Happy Father’s Day Papa.

You taught me well.