Hmmm… what's that? Maybe lime green Kool-Aid? Or a can of diet soda?
I often think the college coed forgets we have access to her pictures on a very popular social networking site. Yesterday she posted pics of herself and her friends, with alcoholic beverages in their hands, out in front of the bars/nightclubs in her college town. It's not the first time she has done it and I know it won't be the last, either.
If I started rambling about how terrible this is, then I would be a total hypocrite. I did some of the same stuff back in my college days, though thankfully that was before the advent of cell phones and websites that are able to provide all sorts of graphic proof about your underage drinking and bar hopping. No evidence I ever had to be rolled home in a shopping cart after taking shots on an empty stomach. Nope - never happened.
After I chuckled a bit about their duck faces and goofy poses, I found myself reflecting on how all of this is part of the process of growing up and testing the waters. After living in Europe for 2.5 yrs, it's not as if our almost 19-yr-old was an alcohol virgin. The gift of choice for most birthday celebrations of her acquaintances was a bottle of alcohol. Now she's back in a country which won't allow her to drink legally until 2016. So they buy fake IDs, get all dolled up and bat their big eyes at the bouncers of the local watering holes to get past the rope because they're pretty young things.
So you pray a lot and hope that one of the many talking-tos we gave her about the dangers of alcohol poisoning, getting taken advantage of when you're drunk and the arrest record that will follow you now that you're an adult are still there lurking in the back of our daughter's conscience as she makes decisions which are outside our parental realm of control. Smart or stupid. Sober or drunk. It's worrisome, but you just have to trust there will be no Piggly Wiggly shopping cart rides in her future. Or that her friends will at least roll her all the way back to her dorm and see her in safely. And that she'll suffer the devil of a hangover the next morning which will have her rethinking her drinking habits in the future.