Dying Young

Do you remember the movie from the 90’s starring Julie Roberts and Campbell Scott?  Campbell Scott’s character, Victor, was suffering from leukemia and hires Julia Robert’s character, Hilary, to be his nurse.  During the course of the movie they fall in love…this is where my memory of the movie ends.  I’m pretty sure, though, from the title of the movie, Victor ends up dying.  You can’t very well have a movie titled “Dying Young” and go on to live to a ripe old age, can you?   What I do remember from the movie is that Victor took a risk and hired Hilary to be his nurse, even though she didn’t have the usual qualifications.  He wanted to experience a shot a love, life and all those things had to offer him in his time left.  Did Victor shorten his time on earth because he didn’t have the most qualified nurse.  I don’t know.  But I know he took a risk when he hired Hilary.

With Zach just beginning to drive, I am trying to gaze into a crystal ball and look forward into the lives of my kiddos.  I know there will be a certain amount of risk taking as they grow up.  I know I took a few unnecessary risks in my younger days.  Didn’t we all?  It’s what teenagers and young adults do…they push the boundaries, just a little bit and then maybe a little more and then just a smidge more than that.  What we, as parents, have to instill in our kids is the sense of pushing the envelope a little less and a little less as they grow up.

I have told my kids if they take stupid, unnecessary risks and end up dying young because of their stupidity I will be so mad at them.  I told Zach I will come and spit on his grave.  And then I backed up a little and said “No, I won’t come spit on your grave.  I will pee on your grave!”  I thought Zach was going to choke when I said it.  I wouldn’t really do it.  And I mean no disrespect to anyone who has lost a loved one because they took a risk. But I would be so mad  if they pulled stunts like the ones in “Jackass” or got in the car with a drunk driver, or drove drunk themselves or abused drugs and ended up dead.  I would be furious at Zach, or any of the kids, if they took a stupid risk and ended up ending their lives because of an extreme lapse in judgement.

I know accidents happen.  My cousin was killed in a car accident when she was 18.  But it was an accident, not an unnecessary risk.  I know people get sick and die young.  It’s one of the most unfortunate facts of life.  What I want to pound into my kids is a deep seated knowledge that I want them around for a long time, if I get the choice.  Stan knows how I feel about stupid risks.  He feels the same way.  An accident is an accident.  A risk is a choice that is made.  

I can only send up prayers and hope that by pounding my message to not take unnecessary risks into my kids’ heads they will live to be a ripe old age.

Oh, for the love of my children…

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