This is a five-minute segment of texts from this past Friday night:
9:25:What time am I picking you up?
9:28:Why aren’t you picking up your phone????
9:30:Where are you?
Couple those texts with three missed calls during the same five-minute period and it seems like a typical Friday night exchange between parent and teen. Only these texts and calls were from my 16-year-old to me.
Let me rewind a couple of hours.
I went to a party at a friend’s house Friday night and I mentioned to my son that he might need to pick me up. I didn’t want to drive to the party because I wanted to be able to have a glass of wine with dinner and my husband was out of town. With no designated driver my options were limited to bumming a ride home with someone who would probably be drinking (not a good idea), calling a cab (which seemed silly for a two mile drive) or walking the two miles home which would normally be fine only my friend’s house is in an area that is on a stretch of winding road with no sidewalk. It’s scary enough to drive there at night let alone walk that area.
That’s when I had my epiphany: my 16-year-old could pick me up. What good is having a built-in designated driver if you can’t take advantage of him?
I knew that he wasn’t doing anything terribly exciting that he couldn’t tear himself away from for 15 minutes so why not. Right?
Fast forward a few hours…
I had been at the party for a couple of hours when I finally heard my cell phone ringing.
“Where have you been?” he yelled into the phone when I finally answered.
Shit. I’m going to be grounded.
I swear that was my first thought. That’s how much he sounded like my mother.
“I thought you wanted me to pick you up,” he continued in the same raised voice.
At no point did I want to snap at him and tell him that I was the parent and he couldn’t tell me what to do. Instead I was thinking, Whoa, dude, chill. I’m at a party and you are ruining my fun.
I had to suppress a laugh.
“Come get me in a half hour,” I finally responded. I hadn’t planned to stay at the party very long anyway and I figured it was the least that I could do since my oldest had let his little brother tag along to his friend’s house.
37 minutes later.
I felt my phone vibrating and I saw this:
10:04 – “Mom, please come up. I can’t be parked where I am.”
10:05 – “?”
10:06 – “Are you coming up??”
10:07 – “We’re coming down to get you.”
Whaddya mean you’re coming down to get me??
I turned just in time to see my youngest son coming down the stairs to the party.
I was a bit mortified. People were looking. How embarrassing!!
I shooed him away, said my goodbyes and reluctantly marched up the stairs to the waiting car. My son was now rolling down the passenger window and glaring at me.
“I’ve been waiting for 15 minutes,” he said as I climbed into the car. “And he,” jerking his thumb at my youngest in the back seat. “He needs to go to bed. He’s been yawning.”
OMG! My son had morphed into the parent.
There are times when I look at my mom and wonder when she became the child and I became the adult. I didn’t expect my son to step into the role of parent until he was at least 30. And, yet, here he was, lecturing me the whole way home about how he had to wait for me and it was late and his little brother needed to go to bed. I felt myself sinking lower in my seat, suddenly feeling like a teenager who broke curfew.
Which is why I didn’t call him the following afternoon when I needed a ride after my post-pedicure birthday mojito. He can be such a buzz kill.