I was sat at my desk when the telephone rang, I answered the call: Laura. ‘Mum, I’ve been caught drink driving.’
Another stone fell, piled itself on top of the debris in my stomach. Husband was at work. A busy period for him, it would be late when he got home. All day I practiced my speech to him. All day I knew, on top of all the pressure thrown his way, this news would be one more stress to burden him. My anxiety was at such a pitch, I could not concentrate. I told him as soon as he walked through the door. His expression was not of anger, or sadness, but resignation. It had come to this.
The DUI offence was the first issue our daughter would have to deal with on her own. The law had the power, not the parent.
Laura went to court with a man she has just met. I would not accompany her. I would not support what she had done. A twelve month driving ban, plus a fine was handed down to her. The short spell I had enforced on her as a pedestrian by taking her car keys. To travel on the bus, to walk to work was now permanent.
Laura said, and I am sure this was not a lie, that she was glad she had lost her licence. Meant she could drink what she wanted, without the responsibility of driving. She said the police had been great with her. They even chatted for a while. What had my daughter developed into?
My little girl, the character who had got out of bed as a child, could not sleep, and stood at the top of the stairs to confess a minor misdemeanour had gone, for good.