The Detoxing Man is Responsible (for both intended and unintended consequences of his actions)
I am responsible for the shuttle service required to get my children to and from their activities. My wife makes sure their lives are filled with these incredible experiences, but I am usually the one who makes sure that they actually get there. Whether it is chess club, art club, soccer on the club team, soccer for the college showcase team, or soccer on the indoor really cool opportunity to play at the Broncos practice facility team, I put in the miles.
As you might imagine, my children are not the only ones engaged in these activities. In fact, there are dozens or sometimes hundreds of other kids who need to get to and from the exact same location that I do. So, we carpool. Kara takes great pains to arrange these elaborate trades of kids across the greater Denver area so that I can save a few trips in the car. I am grateful for it, and I am glad to do my part.
Most of these trips blend together and I have a hard time remembering any of them specifically. It is merely the fabric of my life as a shuttle driver parent. And yet, there is one ride that I will never forget. I was on the “drive home” half of the soccer carpool for my oldest child. I was instructed to pick up three total children. However, when I got to the field, my child was with only one other. They both got into the car and seemed satisfied with the arrangement. As I backed out of the parking space and headed home, I didn’t have any clue about the huge mistake I was making. I thought I was doing my part as the dedicated father and kind neighbor to the one other child in my back seat.
After I dropped off the extra kiddo and drove back home, I still had no idea that anything was amiss. It was only when my wife started receiving text messages from the neglected kid’s mother that I realized just how terribly I had messed up. She asked my wife, “What the hell?” And rightfully so. I had forgotten her child at the field, who had to then be driven home by the coach.
I started apologizing profusely to my wife, to the kid’s mother, and to the coach. My actions caused others to lose trust in me. But, they also caused others to lose trust in my wife. She was berated as the one who “orchestrated the carpool” even though I was the one who left a kid behind. She was one the one who took the full brunt of my mistake. It wasn’t fair then, and it isn’t fair now that she, as a woman and mother, be responsible for the safety of all children. It was my responsibility, and even if I didn’t intend to break an implicit promise to protect and care for the kids in my carpool, I still did it. The unintended consequences were a loss of friendship, a loss of trust, and a story that lives on as a cautionary tale whenever I a need to take more than my own kids in the car. I am responsible for keeping my promises and for the consequences whenever I don’t.