Say what you will about today's cars and the "nanny-isms" they are filled with. After last week, I'm a thankful Dad for some of those systems!! Setting the stage: It's a warm, typical summer night in late-August (this past Tuesday the 28th). My daughter, who has had her NJ drivers' license for all of 4 months, wants to take a ride with a friend to visit another friend. Her car, a 2005 Dodge Neon, is low on gas and of course, she has no money. So, being the understanding dad, I say "just take your mother's car", a 2009 Lexus RX350. She meets-up with me and my mother for a nice dinner, then she leaves to meet said friends. I head home. All the while I have this not-so-good feeling in the pit of my gut, as if "maybe I should have given her 20 bucks for gas". Sure enough, every Dad's nightmare begins, as the phone rings at 10 PM with a hysterical daughter on the other end of the line, screaming that she had just had an accident with mom's ride (the Lexus) . Naturally my first question is "are you hurt, is anyone hurt?" Thankfully NO ONE was injured...but it was a pretty nasty wreck, as the below pics will bear out. Also, thankfully the car is equipped with air-bags (which deployed), crumple-zones that make the car look like a crushed soda can but keep the occupants un-scratched, and etc. All of the typical emotions begin to swim through your body like a school of harried fish through stormy waters. I wanted to hug the bejeesus out of her and yet ground her for 3 years - all at the same time!! I wanted to scream at her so she would never forget and yet envelop her in love and sympathy so she would always remember - all at the same time!! I wanted to try to explain to her how precarious life is and how quickly things can happen and yet let her process the entire event herself - all at the same time!! I did know she would beat herself up over it...would it be a lesson-learned, would I join in on the beating, would I explain as calmly as humanly possible how to learn from the situation? At the end of the day, I did a combination of all of the above. It was lots of love combined with a little anger and consternation, sprinkled in with a dash of lecturing and teaching, with a touch of explaination as to how things happen in the "real world" and the best thing to do was learn from her mistakes so it lessens the chance of it happening again. And when you think about it, isn't that about the best we can do as parents?? Support them, teach them, instruct them, let them know honestly how things can happen and that all decisions have consequences? Most important lesson from this is how easy it is to replace a car...but there will only be one of her and she could never be replaced. That's MY lesson from this.