I believe I’m obligated to start by saying everyone is fine. That said, I think every loving parent has one of those moments when her child makes a choice that rips her heart out of her chest for a moment and carelessly stomps on it. I am guilty of this myself. I snuck out of the house when I was still a preschooler because the neighbor’s dog had puppies and I wanted to play with them. I don’t think I can ever apologize to my mother (or the babysitter who was in charge at the time) enough for doing this. [Seriously Mom. I’m sorry. Again.]
I had one of those parenting moments a few years ago, courtesy of my daughter. I had another one these on Monday when my 14-year-old son decided that attendance of summer school was optional that day. My husband called me at 9:30 after the school called him to advise our son had not shown up for school (which started at 8). My first thought, after the obvious “He’s dead and/or kidnapped” was to call his friends and see if he was with one of them. There were 3 obvious choices. I spoke to Friend 1’s mother; he wasn’t there but she would definitely call me if he showed up. Friend 2’s sister answered the phone. No, he was not there either. [However, bless her heart, she did check in with me that afternoon to see if we had found him, and if he was alright.] Friend 3 answered the phone himself and said he wasn’t there and he hadn’t seen him.
I hung up the phone and started crying. At my desk, at work. Obviously my boss said “are you alright?” I said something, though I don’t know what. I might have managed to choke out some English through the tears, explaining that my boy was missing. I called Ian back and told him I was leaving work to drive the neighborhood. He rode his bike to work that day so I would have to pick him up; I called my dad and asked him to drive over to the house (because he was closer) and see if my son went back home or if his bike was in the garage. No.
Some things that went through my mind while I was driving around the neighborhood looking for him:
— Someone has kidnapped him.
— Don’t be ridiculous. He’s a big kid and played football. He’s heavier than he looks and would put up a massive fight. It would take two people to throw him into a vehicle without his consent and someone would have heard him screaming before they managed to get him in there.
— Someone hit him with their car. He is unconscious and they could not find an ID on him because he probably forgot it at home like he always does so he is in a hospital bed tagged “John Doe”
— He fell off his bike and broke both legs.
— Or he hit his head and is unconscious. He’s lying in the gutter somewhere on the way to school and no one knows he is there.
— I’m so glad the last thing I said to him was I love you.
Eventually he showed up at school, but not until 10:15. By that time we had already called the police and an officer was on his way to our house to file a missing persons report. We had started calling hospitals. I can’t even explain all the horrible places my brain went to. I never want to go there again.
Thoughts that went through my head upon learning he was safe and at school:
— Thank God he’s ok. I’m going to kill him.
— Where the effing eff was he for 2 hours?
— Did he seriously think no one would tell us he didn’t show up at school?
— Wait a minute. He missed almost 2 hours of school. Did he just happen to show up at school a half an hour after we started looking for him?
— No. He probably knew he was busted and that’s why he went to school.
— He must have been at Friend 3’s house when I called, and Friend 3 lied to me.
This was when I remembered this particular friend had lied to me before when I called to see if my son was there. I called and confronted the boy. After a long pause, he admitted the truth. He lied to me because he didn’t want to get his friend in trouble. Well, guess what? He was already in trouble, but now he’s REALLY in trouble because not only did he skip school and make me worry, but when he had the opportunity to come clean about, he let his friend lie for him. I believe I made it perfectly clear that he should never lie to me again. We will see how that goes.
I contemplated whether to blog about this or not. In the end, I decided I need to document this experience for future guilt factor. This is SO much worse than the time(s) he ate my candy that we bought in Canada and isn’t even available in the US.
Also he may or may not have eaten my Godiva truffles last week, though I’m sure he’ll never admit it even if he did. I’m sure you’re thinking “big deal, it’s just chocolate.” First of all, shut the H up. It’s not just chocolate – it’s GODIVA. I used to work there, ok? I know exactly how good that stuff is. It’s like the supermodel of the chocolate world. Second of all, it wasn’t just ordinary Godiva chocolate; it was TRUFFLES. Four truffles. Four truffles selected specifically by me from the bulk chocolate case, which I can only do in Minneapolis, where we won’t be going again for several months. And finally, one of those truffles was key lime, my absolute favorite. I was carefully rationing them out, eating only one each day, to maximize the enjoyment. And half of them disappeared into thin air.
But I digress. On the subject of my disappearing/reappearing son – I have formulated a theory that this sort of thing compounds over generations. The karma of my jaunt over to see the neighbor’s puppies has delivered upon me two-fold. So it would follow that each of my children will have to experience this 4 times, right? I hope not, for their sakes. I wouldn’t wish that feeling on anyone, ever.