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I'm a single mom with two great kids living near Dallas, Texas. This is my life; day to day things that are probably only important to me. This is my record of my ups, my downs and the road that I've taken along the way. For whatever reason YOU'RE here, I hope you find something you can enjoy and/or relate to. God bless.

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Location: Dallas, Texas, United States

Monday, February 20, 2006

18 Months Until College

So, I couldn't find my kid this weekend. What parent hasn't temporarily lost a child. Okay, 16 year old, but still my baby.

The first thing to do is not panic.
The second thing to do is panic.
The third thing to do is get mad.
The fourth thing to do is mentally threaten him with everything but death.
And finally, fifth...play the death card.

I've got two very different boys. Casey, 16, has always been the responsible one. Charlie, the 15 year old has always taken after me and needs two chips surgically implanted, each governed by a remote control. One chip for his actions and another for his thinking. Hey, it's 2006...don't tell me it can't be done.
Sorry, got off track...back to my 16 year old.
Casey was invited to a friends church for a 'lock in'. Our church occasionally has this for teens as well, and Casey visits this church almost weekly, so we had no problem with it. We knew the guy that had invited him, known him for years as he plays football with Casey. Good kid, really good kid. Casey told me that he'd be home sometime Saturday, probably afternoonish.

Tell me, what does afternoonish mean to y'all? I'm thinking Saturday...somewhere between 1 p.m. and 4 p.m. Sound about right? Tell me if it doesn't, I'm trying to be rational here. Because, apparently, to my bright and responsible child it could also mean Sunday afternoon. Catch on people...SUNDAY. Yeah.

We'd been expecting a wintery mix (high chances of it, never showed up...but still we were expecting it), so I'd told Casey that if he was to drive anywhere or get in a car with anyone to call me and tell me. Square in the eye response...'okay mom'. Square in the eye doesn't mean what it use to. Of course, I'm not sure what it use to mean cause I could never look my parents in the eye...I was always too loaded to make direct eye contact...probably couldn't find their eye anyway.

Saturday afternoon around 3 p.m., we begin expecting him at anytime. 5 p.m. comes and goes. We start trying his cell phone. It's turned off, you know when the message picks up right away that it's turned off and it almost feels like you're purposesly being ignored. Okay...another invention...remote control cell phones so the parents can control the on/off, volume of ring and even a slight electrically charged shock, if needed, of course.

Around 5:30 Mark goes to the church (which we'd never been to, but knew approximately where it was located). Mark calls me to say Casey's car is there and doesn't appeare to have been moved, and that there are many cars around his. Okay, come on home scout.

At 6:30 Mark takes Charlie and they head back to the church. I'm hoping at this time that the 18th message I left on Casey's phone about being afraid (very afraid) to come home hasn't delayed his heading home. They get to the church and Charlie goes inside (there is a Saturday night service going on now) and asks someone where Casey might be. They asked him his school year and when told he is a junior, they told him all the juniors were at a weekend retreat until Sunday afternoon. They also refused to give out the phone number of the house where the retreat was being held. So, Mark and I are thinking...cult? They finally give us a printed off Mapsco set of directions to the house, which is a good 20 minutes away, but not the phone number. I'm at home, in case Casey shows up, and Mark and I are constantly calling each other for updates.
Mark and Charlie drive, drive and drive till they finally find this house and Charlie goes to the door to get Casey. The way he describes the look on Casey's face is so funny. Deer in headlights sort of look. Charlie told Casey that Dad would like to see Casey in the car. Once he gets in the car, Mark has him call me. You know...the fear of God and Mom thing.
Casey told me over the phone that they'd told them no cell phones were to be used, so he'd left his in his overnight bag. (I'm telling you, parents need remotes!) AND he thought that since we knew he was at a church function that we'd not worry about him. NOT WORRY ABOUT HIM WHEN HE PLANS ON BEING 24 HOURS LATE?? We were near calling out for a neighborhood search party when he was a few hours late. Can you imagine us just saying, 'oh well, he'll probably show up before school on Monday'?? He didn't know it was going to be 2 nights when he left here on Friday night. He'd brought home a flyer telling about it and requiring parent info...but somehow it got lost here at home. I'd hand written a note saying we gave Casey permission to attend the lock in and since Casey carries his own health insurance card, he had all the info the church had required. If we'd seen the flier, we'd known it was for the entire weekend. Apparently, Casey hadn't thought to read it either.
Here is the line that he has said several times since Mark got him in the car "I didn't think about it". Didn't you think we'd wonder where you were? "I didn't think about it". When you realized it was two nights, couldn't you have asked to call your parents? "I didn't think about it." Remember when I told you to call me if you left the church whether you were driving or you were going with someone else? "I didn't think about it".
Mark sent him back into the house to complete the weekend retreat. I think I may have brought him home, though I'd regretted it probably. He got home Sunday afternoon around 2. We've had several long talks and I'm pretty sure he's going to have plenty of time to 'think about it' now.

Okay, so yeah, I know there are so many worse places he could have been than at a church retreat. That's not my point. My point is the WHERE IS MY KID?? mode for a parent is a very scary situation. I understand the kid doesn't realize this, but the later it got Saturday afternoon, the higher my blood pressure got and the danger zone at the back of my brain was kicking in.

Casey told me last night that a female friend asked him to take her to her senior prom. Sure...okay Casey, but tell me hon, is that a weekend thing?


Anonymous Anonymous said...

OMG! What a weekend for you? I've been in Casey's shoes, and I know what he means about "I didnt think about it." The good thing is that he is ok and safe at home now. But did he have fun the whole time. Wow a Junior going to the Senior prom, he must be excited. But is he going? Or are you going to let him go. Not go forever, just the dance.


8:17 AM  
Blogger SmileDragon said...

WOW, what a weekend! I don't know how you parenting people survive! I am such a control freak that if I had kids I would end up locking them in their rooms so I could keep an eye on them at all times to make sure they were safe.

Man, I am not far past my teen years, but I can honestly say that "I didn't think about it" for an extra night wouldn't fly with my parents. I would have been grounded for months.

8:21 AM  
Blogger Mike said...

Just think how well prepared you have him for married life one day.
The 'I didn't think about it' line will aid him in many, many ways.....lol

8:31 AM  
Blogger DZER said...

yikes. we were taught that lesson — to call if there was a change in plans — once. and it was a painful lesson to learn LOL

and I bet he's hoping the prom thing is weekend adventure ... "I didn't think about going to Mexico ..."


8:33 AM  
Blogger Casually Me said...

A scared momma...this is something to avoid at all costs. She can either eat her young, or ust admonish them for their mistakes, (not sure which is worse.) The kid had a judgement lapse, but he was at church. Nothing bad ever happens in the name of the church, any church at anytime in history...really. I see similarities between my oldest and yours.

8:54 AM  
Blogger kathi said...

abi ~ yeah, I think he's excited and of course I want him to go. I went to senior proms when I was a junior and it was awesome.

crystal ~ lol, he's being punished...trust me.

mike ~ coming from mr. divorced, huh? Did you use it often?

dzer ~ LOL, LOL, LOL.

Tom ~ Jonestown...Waco...ring any bells?? :)

9:08 AM  
Blogger Monica said...

See, he's got you at a disadvantage there...it's you against GOD......"Mom...you don't want me to stop going to CHURCH do you?"

Oh my Holy Mother (see...moms are important) of God.

9:13 AM  
Blogger kathi said...

monica ~ And the kid is getting a smart mouth on him, though it only appears when he's cornered. We didn't go to church this Sunday, and he threw that at me 'Well, at least I went to church'. Smartbutt...where's he get it??

9:43 AM  
Blogger Mike said...

lol....I never used it...I planned and blurted out any and all idiocy I was involved in.

10:03 AM  
Blogger Casually Me said...

Drinking the kool-aid...ahh...good times...good times...

10:39 AM  
Blogger SmileDragon said...

I knew kids that used church retreats as a kind of getaway from the parents, a place where there wasn't constant supervision. Let's just say, the girl that was my tent mate at one of them never "came home" at night.

11:46 AM  
Blogger Stacy-Deanne said...

It's going to always be like this Kathi no matter how old he gets. You're his mother. LOL, the older he gets the more you'll worry. It's just a part of life. When he's 40 you'll still worry at times.

12:38 PM  
Blogger Leesa said...

my heart was beating fast just from the story. Ouch, I would have been so scared.

12:57 PM  
Blogger kathi said...

mike ~ LOL, yeah.. I can see that.

tom ~ oh, you think you're funny, huh? THAT'S NOT FUNNY!! Okay, a little funny.

crystal ~ 16 years and it one of the first times he's been in trouble. Guess that's why it scared me so much, it just wasn't like him. If it'd been Charlie, we'd given him till Tuesday (KIDDING).

stacy d ~ y'all are just a whole lot of support and good stories today. SHEESH. And sweetie, by the time he's 40 I'll be waving from my home up high! :) That's my plan, anyway. LOL.

leesa ~ thank you for sharing my pain darlin. The rest of this group just needs a good spankin. And NO, you can't take your comment back. :)

1:13 PM  
Blogger Wenchy said...

My son is going to high school next year and i am petrified to be honest.

3:15 PM  
Blogger KyuBall said...

Wow, tough situation. Sounds like he's starting to stretch his wings.

I did something very similar when I was about his age and got the "lecture". And it worked...to a certain extent.

I think what you should do is beat the snot out of him...er, no wait, that's not very good advice. Probably just better to explain to him that after 24hours he's legally considered "MISSING" in most states and that even Churches are vulnerable to stray meteroite landings.

Kids at that age are very self-centered...they can't help it. It doesn't make them bad, just not too bright when it comes to scaring the pants off their parents.

Good luck!

4:45 PM  
Blogger Nabeel said...

hahahaha @ mentally threaten them .. lol this statement was just soo funnyy .. well ok i should stop laughing ..

I'm glad casey is fine .. and yaa I understand the worry .. I get worry too when my father is home late and when he doesn't pick up the phone ..

9:23 PM  
Blogger ~Deb said...

I'm glad everything is okay now. Wow... This is one of the many reasons why I refuse to have kids. My anxiety level and blood pressure went up just by reading this post! I give you credit Kath, you're a good mama.


Now when you adopting my ass????

10:07 PM  
Anonymous blackops said...

I suppose the important thing is, hes fine. However scaring the shit out of me (you) is another thing. What is this LOCK IN thing. I think I wouldve been a bit un-nerved by such a description for my kid to be involved in. I cant imagine a church retreat being so Sun Yung Moonish.

4:14 AM  
Blogger BigBill said...

I wonder if the same thing we did on retreats is going on....I used to get wasted on our retreats. and nobody ever found out... Our parents where not idiots.. Just a thought.. Are we being dupted?
Kids now a days don't worry about getting in contact or letting us know where they are.. They are used to being able to be summoned by the cell phone. They are not programed to think that far ahead of the game and leave word of where they might be..... Its a different world out there nowadays we need to smack some common sense into their heads..At least thats the way I feel sometimes then you hear their side of the story and well you feel stupid for over reacting.... but I feel better for over reacting then to be sitting there at the morgue ready to identify a body. I know that last statement was kind of blunt but it's true. I said that to my wife one time. Hey where is our daughter? Im not sure she replied. I said well Godforbid we have to put out a missing persons notice. We would look pretty irresponsible don't you think . Uhm what was she wearing? We don't know. Uhm where was she going? We don't know. Who was she with? We don't know... After that reality check we always had some kind of idea of what she was doing. I have been sent on many recon missions by Lovey (my wife). I could have been sent in to find Bin Ladin and I would have been successful!!!

4:14 AM  
Blogger kathi said...

wenchy ~ there is always homeschooling, which is the scarier thought of the two for me!

nabeel ~ it's funny now, not real funny, but funny. :)

deb ~ awww, hon, the good far out weighs the bad (after they grow up some, anyway) :) Sorry, I only adopt animals out of cages.

blackops ~ a lock in is something churches do for teens on weekends so the parents know where they are. They can't leave without a parent picking them up. Our church will have games, concerts, trips to Main Event...that kind of thing, then a sleep over with sleeping bags. At the one Casey went to last week end they divided it up by grades and all juniors went to one person's huge mansion of a home by church bus Friday, then went to a christian concert by bus in Irving Texas on Saturday, then back to the house.

bigbill ~ those were the things we were thinking too. Not sure of the name of the church (we are now), no church ph. # (we have it now), didn't know his friends phone # (we have a long list of #'s now). Parenting is a live and learn process.

6:28 AM  
Blogger Shawn said...

I can't believe his excuse made sense to him. Wow! That nice that you guys let him finish the retreat. My mom woulda had me pack my things make my way home immediately.

7:53 AM  
Blogger Mike said...

Actually kathi...I don't know if this ever changes..(yes, I know....a serious comment from me for once).....My son is 22 and if I don't hear from him every couple of days I worry about him.

7:57 AM  
Blogger bbsgirl said...

oh wow...you sure did have a weekend didn't you...I had an experience ONCE when my daughter wasn't where she said she wa going to be....and trust me..it's much scarier when it's your daughter!!! Way to many things to think about there!!! It's good to see everyone is safe and I too wouldn't think they are 100% safe just because it's a church setting...after all ..kids will be kids even the ones the go to church.

11:58 AM  
Blogger Tom Serafini, Actor to the Stars! said...

So lemme tell ya how this would have been handled in my life; I don't show up so my father calls 10,000 times looking for me. he heads to the place I'm supposed to be, barges in and demands to see who is in charge. The unwitting victim steps forth and my father inquires as to my whereabouts.

He is told that he will not be given the number. My father turns red, that vein bulges on his forehead and he literally grabs the guy and proceeds to tell him about the choices (and their concequences) that our victim will be making in the next couple of minutes.

My father gets what he came for but does not call. He arrives with the car on fire, kicks the door in and grabs me by the collar, slaps me around a little because he has to vent the anxiety that I may be dead somewhere. When I tell him I was told to shut the phone he slaps me again for not thinking on my own two feet then slaps the leader of the group for not thinking on his two feet. The rationale here is that if some emergency took place there would be no way to get hold of me. This of course doesn't take into account the flyer.

I'm then thrown out of the house and into the car and dragged home. I recieve "The Look" from my father all weekend as he reiterates how many changes I put him through in the last few hours.

Being old enough to understand his position today, I would have done exactly the same thing. Say what you will about his tactics but I'll always tell you I miss the old man.

And by the way, a similar thing did happen to me as a kid. When my father called the cops, the Sarge told him not to worry, every kid does this at least once to stretch the boundary. He was right.

Glad to hear he was safe and sound all along. Now smack him one for all of us!

6:17 PM  

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