Monday, May 14, 2007


There are some things about parenting, I've been told, that you never truly understand until you are a parent yourself. I remember hearing this from my own parents, and from others in the past as they were recounting stories of their experiences with their children. I never truly understood the power of that statement until Saturday night.

Daniel, who is 14, is well aware of his father's rules. If he is out on a weekend evening, he must call Danny before 10pm. And he must wrap up his activities around that time so he can be picked up. This is how it's been ever since he was old enough to go out with his friends, or his "homies" as he calls them, into the evening hours.

Saturday night, Danny and I were at his parents' house, socializing with family members. Daniel was at the carnival at the local high school with his friends. As the evening wore on, Danny attempted to call Daniel to see where he was. Unfortunately, his calls went straight to voice mail.

And they kept going to voice mail.

No answer. No response.

At 10:00, we got into the car, and headed to the carnival. We waited by one of the exits, to see if we could locate Daniel and his friends, but they were nowhere to be found. We even drove around to the Jack in the Box nearby. Still no Daniel.

Danny was angry. He thought his son was being a punk and trying to escape his rules by pleading innocence that his phone had died or was turned off. But I wasn't angry. My reaction was completely different. I was scared.

What if something had happened to him ? What if some of the older teenagers that filled this carnival had given him and his friends trouble ? What if he'd been hit by a car ? What if.... all these scenarios started running through my head. I was petrified.

At 10:25, he finally called. He'd had his phone off to preserve the battery. He'd meant to call. He hadn't checked the time. But, at least he was safe.

When my own father used to yell at me for not calling, or for showing up late, I always thought he was being ridiculous. Of course I was fine. Of course I could take care of myself. Why did he need to be so controlling ? There was no need to worry, right ?

As a teenager, I never understood why he was so damned protective.

Now, I do.


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