Friday, March 23, 2012
My child is now a teenager.
I knew this day was coming (mostly because he reminded me often) and wasn't looking forward to it. I've heard that the little person you know and love disappears when they turn into teenagers. So we've been working hard to find a happy parenting place between "Let me wash your face with my spit" and "Wash the table, clean the toilet, shovel the snow, scrub the walls..." (There is a happy parenting place, isn't there? Please say yes.)
A few months ago, I knew I was going to be gone when he got home from school and I worried he might not be able to get in the house. He has a key but I knew he'd taken it out of his backpack a few days before and I wasn't sure if the key had made its way back. We have a coded key pad on the garage but the batteries had been dead for quite some time.
Several things went through my head.
1 - He could sit on the porch swing in the snow wondering where I was and why I would leave him out in the cold.
2- He could get sick.
3- He could talk to a stranger.
4- Some other kid could come along, offer him drugs, and drag him down a sad, sad path of destruction that we could have avoided had he been safe inside the house.
I thought a little too much about number 4. Now granted, he's a smart kid. He's a 7th grader in 8th grade honors math. But he doesn't always brush his teeth. Teeth brushing is always a sign of things to come - even if it's just cavities.
Fortunately, we had batteries for the key pad on the garage. Unfortunately, I wasn't sure if he would go over there to see if it worked. I could leave a note on the door for him but that would be like leaving a note for all the burglars in the area.
Dear Burglars: No one is currently home. Please help yourself to our stuff. We also have some nice sandwich meat in the fridge. Oh, and our young son will soon be home ALONE. Please come and influence him for bad. Sincerely: some honest tax payers.
Granted the note would have said something else but notes are so much more than the words written on them. I wrote a note to my daughter this morning that I attached to the assignment she forgot to take to school today. The words said: In exchange for the delivery of this assignment (that I already reminded you to take to school), you get to clean out the van. ♥ Mom. The message says: Stop being a slacker and listen to me. ♥Mom.
When I got home, I was happy to see him inside and safe. I asked him how he got inside. He said he'd put his key back in his backpack so he had no problem. Still under the heady influence of my stellar parenting skills, I asked him if he got my text. He said no. The batteries to his phone were dead. Yep, we're still looking for that happy parenting place. I'm hoping we'll find it before our youngest goes to college.