On the heels of what we suffered in our community, the tragic loss of the young football players from one of our local high schools, it is with a heavy heart that I write this. Too many of our young children are being given their freedom much too soon.
I am thinking about the 6-year-old who shot the teacher a couple of weeks ago. And I am also thinking about the 4-year-old who was spotted outside of his home with a gun, pointing it and walking around with it as if he were accustomed to handling it. The tragic deaths of a player and staff from UGA have certainly put a damper on our spirit this past week.
I am not speaking as if I have been a perfect parent, but I am wise enough to know that it is OK to aim high.
Several weeks ago, when colleges shut down for the winter break, I was given the task of traveling to Tuskegee to trail my granddaughter back to her home in Lawrenceville. Mom and Dad were working and were unable to do so. I thought it to be a great honor and a privilege because I very seldom get to see her. She has her own car so my husband and I only had to trail her back, since she had never driven on the interstate, especially through Atlanta.
Once we made sure her dorm room was tidied up and she had received her clearance papers from her dorm assistant, we began to make the trek back to Georgia. Since she was in her territory, we allowed her to lead out of campus to the interstate. We had also invited her Cousin Catherine Mary to ride over with us so we all would have a traveling partner in the car. We had also discussed stopping someplace in Auburn for lunch. We made phone contact, letting Paris and Catherine Mary look for a good exit. We found an excellent barbeque place.
After eating we got back on the road, allowing them to take the lead again. When we reached I-85, my grand with three years of driving experience went immediately to the fastest lane. I looked at my husband and he looked at me. He knew what I was thinking, but I did not find out until later that we were not on the same page. I looked at our speedometer, and it was registering 70 mph.
Catherine Mary is a very gentle-spirited young lady and was not going to question Paris about why the rush. I turned to my husband and said, if we are going 70 and she is in front, how fast is she going? He said she is going the speed limit, and she is allowed to travel 5 miles over. I could not believe he was saying that. All I could think about was her mom and dad asking, “Why did we trust you to go get her for us?”
I dialed Catherine Mary’s phone and she answered immediately. I said, “Catherine, she is only supposed to travel 65 or under, so tell her to get over and slow it down.” So that Paris would know that I was saying exactly what was being repeated, Catherine Mary repeated my every word and asked me did I say that. I knew Catherine was trying to be Paris’ buddy. This was the first time they had been together in 4 years.
My husband gave me that look and I lit in on him for what he had said 30 miles back. I asked him, “Just because the signs say 60, 70, or 80, does that mean you must drive that speed?” The answer he gave me was, “No you can drive faster.”
I got VERY quiet. Too quiet. He said, “Just leave her alone.” I said I will not leave her alone so you just as well leave me alone.
By now Paris was driving in the right lane behind a truck. I was watching every move the car made, and I knew what she was thinking. She has been riding with her mom and dad these 19 years, and they are both speedsters.
I grabbed my phone again and dialed Catherine Mary, who answered immediately. I know Paris wanted to tell her not to answer. I said, “Cat, tell Paris to stay behind that truck, and she had better not go around it. Tell her if the truck goes to Rome GA, she had better not go around it.” Catherine Mary laughed and I heard Paris giggling in the background.
When I did a lot of traveling from Rome to South Carolina and Florida to see family, I found following truckers to be a safe way for me to travel, like having the car on cruise control. That day, I sat back thinking that I now have things under control with the help of the trucker, and no help from my husband, Hardy. We returned in one piece physically, but emotionally and spiritually it took several days to recover. Paris was pouting and Hardy just escaped being signified on.
God is always in control, but not on my watch was that little girl going to do it her way. I know someday she will do it her way, but that was not the day. Parents, be parents — and grandparents, do the best you can. Most of you know the Biblical story of Lois and Eunice. Let us remember it and apply it.