Summer is here for kids everywhere, and if yours are anything like mine they're going places! The pool, a friend's house, the movies, they just have to be doing something or it's a wasted day! But when you're kids are old enough to drive the parental anxiety is amped up a notch. What could possibly go wrong with a group of inexperienced drivers who believe they are invincible?

Chase is a senior to be. In fact, he'll turn 18 this August. I can't believe how time has flown by. Gone is the boy who once wanted nothing more than to play video games with his dad. Now, there is a young man with his own car and a group of friends who can also drive. On Sunday, Chase and several friends were headed out to the Paris Bridge Recreational Area. I gave Chase a time that he needed to be home by and he headed out the door. I've gotten better as a parent in trusting him when he goes out. He always texts us and lets us know where he's going and who he is with. But when he calls, there is usually something wrong. And that was the kind of call I got yesterday.

When I saw Chase's name come up on my phone, my heart dropped a bit because I figured something had gone wrong. When I answered, he sounded fine but then went on to inform me that he'd been involved in an accident. The truck he was riding in had found the ditch. I asked for some details and some pictures. He sent me this.

Ryan Brainard
Ryan Brainard

Um, excuse me? That looks like a rollover! Chase confirmed that the truck he was in lost control on a gravel road, rolled THREE times, and ended up on its side in a ditch. I immediately asked if he and his passengers were O.K. He insisted they all were. He said they were all laughing at what they'd just been through. As a parent, I was not nearly as amused.

I told him how lucky they all were. Several of the occupants, including my son, were not wearing seatbelts. What if they'd been thrown from the vehicle? What if they had landed in the nearby river? Chase managed to walk away with just a small cut on one of his fingers. When he got home, I told him I wasn't mad at him, but that the whole episode scared the hell out of me. I've always thought of close calls as a warning. A sign that you might be speeding through life a little too fast.

Our kids are out of school for the summer. They're looking for some fun. Don't forget to remind them to slow down, drive safe, and understand you only get so many close calls. Oh, and hug them. Hug them every time they come home safe.

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