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
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?