Last night, a drunk driver crashed into my friend’s parked car, pushing it across the grass to rest against her neighbor’s stone porch. Minutes before the crash, my friend’s daughter and grandson had been in the space obliterated by the drunk driver but they’d driven away before he turned the corner. They were all fine. The car was dead and the driver was arrested but everyone else was fine.

But it just goes to show what I’ve known for a long time.

Anything can happen.

I just put that out there for folks who think the world spins on an “If/Then” axis.

Chief among such folks would be parents who convince themselves from baby’s first cry that the end result of all their incredible effort will be a flawless child and then a perfect adult. This might be true if a drunk driver doesn’t come zooming around the corner.

Linear thinking is the parent’s ultimate trap. 

Thinking that anything can happen isn’t ridiculously pessimistic. It’s realistic. But it does have a tricky flip side. Because if ‘anything can happen,’ dear parent, the flip side is ‘you can’t control everything’ and, wow, is that a tough one to swallow.  It might mean that a lot of life is random.

Love what you’re doing – don’t bank on there being a pay-off.

Today’s the pay-off. It begins and ends in this minute. Hope for the best but don’t count on it. What happens when your children grow up is just what happens next. It’s not your reward or your parenting score. Parents as good as you have had their kids killed by a drunk driver or heroin or a meteor. It’s a tough deal but it’s true.

Right now is all you’ve got.