When the last two kids were old enough to stay home along overnight, I was already in my fifties. But I could still do the jig. Yes! I was going to have a night alone with my husband in a condo in Fish Creek, Wisconsin. Three hours from the house, not too far, but not close enough for them to find us either.
No interruptions, no teenage boys showing up unexpectedly at the most…um …inconvenient times. No seventeen-year-old girls wandering into our bedroom to surprise us with plans to ‘borrow’ my stuff.
My husband and I begin by having a romantic dinner, a little wine, we go back to the condo and start filling our private Jacuzzi, light a few candles, drink more wine, dance another jig while disrobing.
Then the phone rings.
Don’t get it, my husband says.
It’s our daughter telling me she’s safely home, I reply, it’ll only be a minute.
Mom, she screams into the phone. Ohmygod! A deer ran right into the side of the car (BTW, she’s driving MY car). It was an enormous buck and it scared me and ohmygod.
Are you okay? Great. Everything’s going to be okay. Don’t cry. How much damage to the car? What do you mean, you don’t know. Compare it to fruit. Is it the size of a grape? An Orange?
No, she whimpers, more like a watermelon.
At this point, my husband turns off the water and slumps on the side of the tub. Then he just HAS to say what he’s thinking out loud. Why did you let her use your car? Like it’s my fault the deer plowed into the side of the car. The mood has definitely shifted.
Daughter calls back seven times that night, apologizing and crying and…probably just making sure we were still where we said we were. Because…
Next morning, we arrive home to find some of our things, well, in the most unusual places. Sofa pillow in the closet, plants rearranged on the window sill, floors in a surprisingly clean state.
Radar at full output, I take a little finger trip to My Space and visit my children’s pages. My son has posted a wonderful picture of a pyramid of beer cans surrounded by his glowing face and the rest of his cohorts.
THAT’S OUR WINDOW BEHIND THE CANS! My husband yells when he sees the picture.
Sure enough, the Baker’s house was partyville, all the little mice playing while the cats were away. Eleven lively teenagers had a rip roaring time. But they’ve learned responsible bad behavior. An oxymoron? Not at all, when coming from a teenage point of view. Here’s an example of responsible bad behavior.
Just so you know, my daughter says proudly, we didn’t let anybody drive home drunk. Everyone had to spend the night.
It’s been weeks, but I’m still traumatized.
I’m also counting down. One year, five months left before the last one, our precious baby daughter, leaves for college.
We’re changing the locks as soon as she’s gone.