Sunday, October 16, 2011

When I Started Stalking the Kids

I'd like to start this post with the thoughts that plague me all the time anymore:

I'm so, so sorry, Mom and Dad.
I was wrong.

Oh, that's right.  Twenty-five years later, I am finally contrite.  Allow me to make a short list of things for which I am sorry, and these are just off the top of my head:
  1. Fake orthodontist appointments
  2. Beer bongs
  3. Street sign stealing
  4. TP-ing
  5. Prolific swearing
  6. Distracted driving
  7. Unfinished homework
  8. Skinny jeans that weren't purchased as skinny jeans
  9. Last minute rides
  10. General behavioral issues
And that was all before I was 18.  Much of it before I was 16.  Oy. I remember when I was in Junior High, as we used to call it in the olden days, and my group of friends would get together, and we would say we were going to the movies, get dropped off, wait for the parent to drive away, and then go hang out outside the bar down the street or just generally roam around.  One girl, whom I loved then and still love now, had a mom who was rightly suspicious of us.  She would drop her daughter off, and then we would see her gray conversion van across the street and think, "Oh Christ, now we HAVE to go to the movie!!!"   I look back now and think, "I would SO be in that conversion van!!"

I'm old enough now that I can look at the Courtney Love v. Courtney Love's parents showdown and think, "Those poor people."

Nah.  I was always Team Parents on that one.
And I even liked Hole.

This weekend, I became Stalker Parent.  Helicopter Parent.  Parent hiding in the bushes.  Parent in the van across the street.  And it's really not because I don't trust my kids - it's because I don't trust THE REST OF THE WORLD.

I started the weekend by watching Youngest Daughter perform in a dance team thing a the football game, one of those grade-schoolers-hang-out-with-the-dance-team-for-an-afternoon-and-get-a-shirt things.  The little girls finished, and YD wanted to run around the football game with her friends.  Luckily, another parent offered to take YD and her friends away from the game and have an overnighter at their house.  (LET'S PAUSE WHILE I PLACE THIS "MOTHER OF THE WEEKEND" CROWN ON SAID MOM'S HEAD.  Applause. ) I had to volunteer in the concession stand, so Current Husband was in charge.  Then Oldest Daughter informed us that a group of her friends made plans to go to a haunted house, and they needed a ride, so CH offered to drive them.  He lined up another parent to be the go-to group for The Son and his posse of kids running around, and left. 

Soon, concessions were over, and then the game.  I was walking out with the three boys, all middle schoolers, when some high school boy yells down from the top of the bleachers, "Keep walking, Motherfucker!"  I was on my cell phone with CH taking a crisis call, and I said, "Hold on, CH".  I marched back to the bottom of the bleachers and yelled like a mom should - loudly and awkwardly and full of momma bear bravado.

ME:  "WHAT did you say?"
KID:  *****
ME:  "Do you want to tell me what you yelled at those boys?"
KID:  ***** (possible contemplating spilling his slurpee on me)
ME:  "Well you keep that up and see where it gets you in the future!"
KID:  *****

You TELL him, Julie!  I bet he is shaking in his boots!  Yes!  The dreaded FUTURE comeback!  I'm sure that moment changed that kid's life.  He probably looked at his skanky girlfriend standing next to him and said, "She's right.  I DO need to think about my future.  I should stop with the language and the methamphetamine and pick up a copy of Henry James' 'Portrait of a Lady' for my English report, and then clean my room and get a job and cut back on the red meat.  I'm so glad I attended this football exhibition."

The boys were impressed.  "Dude, your mom is AWESOME" and "It's like having your own bodyguard!" was overheard.  TRANSLATION:  "Dude, your mom is crazy!" and "It's like Thanksgiving when my Aunt Karen gets drunk!"  Middle school boys only get impressed when someone else's mom goes apeshit.

I get back on the crisis call with CH.  He is nonplussed, as he's heard me come unhinged on people before, and by 'people' I mean him.

CH:  "When are you getting home?"
ME:  "Now.  What's up?"
CH:  "You need to drop the boys' off at G's house, and come with me."
ME:  "Where are we going?"
CH:  "Did YOU know where the haunted house is?"
ME:  "Skellington's or Scarington's or something."
CH:  "Did you know it is smack dab in the middle of gangbangerville?  On a Friday night?"
ME:  "It's in Rock Island?"
CH:  "Yeah.  And I saw about 40 cops and a guy trying to break into a car when I left."
ME:  "I'm on my way."

I dropped off the boys and picked up CH.  We drove to Rock Island, which reports a shooting about every three days, and went to the haunted house, which was right on the edge of the bar district on Friday night.  We passed a closed off street with about 10 cop cars and a fire truck where a car had smashed into a building, and a number of other squad cars patrolling the area.  We parked directly across the street from the haunted house, facing it, and I texted Oldest Daughter that we were outside.  We sat in that van and fretted for 40 minutes until the group came out and got into the van, laughing. 

Not wanting to freak the kids out or embarrass OD, I engaged them in conversation about various things while CH clutched the steering wheel in a death grip, imagining it was each of their heads, but as each kid got out of the car, I asked, "So did your parents know you were haunted housing in Rock Island tonight?" every one of them answered, "They knew I was going to a haunted house, but not in Rock Island."  Like DUH, I wouldn't tell them I was in THAT town!

We got home and had a lovely discussion with OD about her new regulations requiring her to submit her social plans in triplicate forms, 72 hours in advance, and that if we find out she left the city without telling us she would be spending a lot of time watching The Golden Girls and eating Milk Duds with her parents on Friday nights.

We went to bed and spoke in whispers about what rotten teens we were, and how lucky we are that OD doesn't do a fraction of the things we did....yet.  And then we made an appointment to get all of the children micro-chipped.

The end.


GrandeMocha said...

Just get her an ankle braclet.

Julie, The Wife said...

I'm sure Lindsay Lohan has a line of those., here I come.

Mel said...

First off, I am not sure if Rock Island is the real name or the fake name of the town, but it TOTALLY sounds like the place peole get killed in horror movies. Glad you saved the day on that one. Second, so happy that you turned that young man's life around at the football game. Betcha he comes back to the thank you in a few years. You are the most awesome mom ever!

Anonymous said...

This is where GPS on your kids cell phone comes in handy. Also, I would have been so screwed as a kid.

The Table of Promise said...

The mean kids at my school taught me that laughing at people disarms them and makes them feel little. If I had heard those boys say m-----f----- I would turned around and laughed at him and told him "Hahaha, You know you sound really grown up when you say m-----f-----. Why don't you keep your voice down next time you use that word."

Even now thinking about it, it sounds kind of mean. The mean kids are good teachers.

Rhonda said...

I'm totally going to be the mom outside in the bushes. And I have flipped out on teens while at high school football games.

Cath @ 7 Million Wonders said...

I enjoyed reading this entry so much. I would hate to think what my list would look like! I have much to apologize for (especially the skinny jean thing).

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