What Kind Of Parent Are You? Could You Go Back To Sleep?

It was so sad to hear of the passing of one of my classmates, Ray Wheelington. We had some good times in the past. When I heard of his passing, I immediately started thinking of “Ray Stories.” The one below came to mind. After typing the story, it transformed from a “Ray Story” to a “Parenting Story.” What kind of parent are YOU?

Once, when I was 15, before I had a car, Ray brought me home in that green Camaro.

It was after midnight. I got out and he sped down the road. Highway 195 was still a gravel road and I’m sure there was dust and gravel flying. I went upstairs to my room and had just laid down when I heard something hitting the roof. I opened my window/urinal door. (There was no bathroom upstairs. Mom never understood why flowers never grew beneath my window.)

I raised the window and Ray was yelling at me. He had missed a curve and was in the ditch. I didn’t want to wake my parents. I snuck outside and crossed the road to the barn. I cranked our Farmall tractor and wrapped a chain around the drawbar. I brought a flashlight and Ray rode on the drawbar holding the flashlight as we returned to the scene of the spinout. I pulled him out and he sped toward Cross Roads and Hope. Luckily, neither Ray or the car were hurt.

I thought I had pulled off this entire mission without parental knowledge. I returned home to find my dad on the porch rocking in a chair. He said he tried to go back to sleep but his curiosity was killing him. He couldn’t wait until morning to find out why I’m driving a tractor down the road at 1am. He wasn’t upset, just curious. As I explained the situation, all I remember is him shaking his head as he went back in the house.

This began as a “Ray Story” but I after I typed the story, it turned into a “Dad” story. How many of us as parents, could sit calmly on the porch as our 15 year old child drives down the road on a tractor at 1AM? How many of us would be in the vehicle following with the lights flashing and possibly honking the horn wanting to know the story?

When I think back, I guess Dad trusted my ability and common sense to handle whatever problem I was facing. I guess he knew I didn’t have enough fuel to go joy riding. He probably was on the front porch and saw us begin our journey. I wish my Dad was still around to ask these questions.

What would you do and what are your thoughts? What would the AVERAGE parent do?

Greg Gilbert


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