You wanna know what’s weird? Sitting for the first time in a bar across from your son and watching him drink a beer. That you bought him.
I was recently blessed with the privilege of meeting up with my sons and three of their friends who spent the better part of a month backpacking and hosteling throughout Europe. I know! Remember your trip to Europe right after high school? Me either.
Yes, we are those parents. The ones who cut their eighteen-year-olds loose to travel in foreign countries. However, as someone who flies internationally for a living…
Well kids, I have some good news and some bad news.
Um. We’ll take the good news first.
Doesn’t matter. It’s the same as the bad news. I’ll be in three of the six countries you’re visiting while you’re there.
It wasn’t my intention to spy or snoop or follow them around like Carrie Mathison in Homeland, I just thought, you know, if they needed anything…
Turns out, they needed beer.
In most of Europe, the drinking age is 18. So it was perfectly legal to buy beer for these guys. But I don’t kid myself. I don’t pretend for one minute to believe the round I bought in Munich was the first beer any of them had ever had.
A lot of parents may take issue with me, but I think we’re fools if we believe only other people’s children are drinking. And I think it’s incumbent upon us to teach our kids how to drink responsibly when the time comes.
Yet, the thought of lowering the 21 drinking age in the U.S. strikes fear into this mother’s heart. I think it does save young lives, but this may be because we’re such an automobile centered society. Although, it seems wrong that you can vote and fight in wars and still not have a legal drink.
So I took this group to Augustiner’s, and not the Hofbrauhaus like they wanted. (I told them that while the Hofbrauhaus in Munich is a “must-see,” I believed having your first beer in Germany there might be a crime against that country’s beer purity law.)
I was really impressed with these young men, who refused a second round until they’d had some food. Quite a lot of food, as it turns out.
After dinner, I left them to their own devices, and since they didn't make the news that night, I'm fairly certain they behaved respectably, although probably not as well as they had when Mom was there, but still.
When I'd first met up with them, I could sense a shift in their auras, their energy, after only a little more than one week away. It was like they'd officially been handed their adult cards, or something.
And I will always cherish the memory of sitting at Augustiner's with these fine young men, laughing and talking over a first legal round of beer. Well, that I'd bought them, anyway.
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