Driving Crash Kid to school early one morning a couple of week's ago, we were discussing the book he's reading in LA. The Trouble with Lemons revolves around a death by drowning. Crash noted that it wasn't really a murder, it was just a series of dumb decisions kids made that led to someone's deaht. Suddenly he blurted out that he thought he was doing pretty well adjusting to being a teen-ager. (Editor's note: this is based on all of two week's experience.) "I think so. How am I doing at adjusting to being a teen-ager's mom?" "OK. But, you know, I don't think I'll ever be a crazy teen-ager, so you won't really have to worry a lot." "Crash, it's kind of a biological thing, adolescent brains can't quite process risk, and so sometimes adolescents do pretty dumb things. I hope you won't!" "Not me, Mom, I promise!"
Last weekend, we're getting ready to cross the street during the evening rush hour. The light is green, but Barnacle Boy is dutifully waiting for the pedestrian signal. Crash is haranging him, "Look, it doesn't matter, there's no traffic. Just come on!" Still talking, he steps out into the cross-walk - directly in front of a car making a left-hand turn. I scream his name, the black sedan comes to an abrupt halt and no harm comes to my risk taking adolescent. Traffic rolls again and I turn around to chastise my eldest, to find him shaking with sobs. He was so frightened. "Remember what I said about teen brain?" I gently teased. A sniffled assent. "I guess you're not immune!" A brief giggle. I'm keeping my fingers crossed and my prayers rising like incense.