First off let me clearly state that parenthood is something that I was ill prepared for, it’s a learning experience and I’m along for the ride.
Those of us with mischievous teenagers can likely identify the mass marring the paint of my family bus. Now I wish the story was as simple as someone maybe having just a bit too much fun but it’s not.
Quick rewind, Maddi comes home from Wentworth Thanksgiving break and convinces us it is in ours and her best interest to bring her home after Xmas break. Plan set in motion we prepare for her return, excited to have her home, sad she didn’t finish the year which is obviously the best choice from an education perspective. Xmas break arrives and Maddi turns in her uniform and says her farewells and home we go. We get home and to our surprise Maddi decides she should at least finish the year, yes there is more to it than this but that’s personal. Naturally we are excited by her decision and see it as a sign of maturity thus we open up the doors for Maddi to have somewhat of a festive vacation.
Leading up to Xmas all is well, Maddi and Mom tanning, working out, shopping, etc…, things are good. Maddi also takes this time to reacquaint herself with some local friends and this appears to be going just fine as well. Then the beginning of the fun really begins, Maddi ask us if a “friend” from California can visit after Xmas, oh and by the way it’s a he. Well I’ve met “he” before and I must say out of all of Maddi’s “he” friends this one at least has the ability to display certain mannerisms I approve of so after quick deliberation with Chris it’s a go and by the way they’re “just friends”. Next thing I know the day after Xmas I’m off to the airport to pick the “friend” up who will by the way remain with us until we take them both back to Wentworth.
The visit begins and all is well minus the fact that now we are invisible to Maddi and my apparent loss of hearing because I can swear I never heard the word boy in front of friend but I do read sign language quite well and I figure it out. The next few sleepless days go by and all seems to be respectable but we’re coming up on New Year’s and I’m expecting a severe bout of hearing loss. Then a miracle happens, ice storm, not safe to travel on new year’s eve so sorry Maddi but the all nighter you had stowed way in the back of your head is out. Hooray a minor victory! Well I didn’t get the ay out of hooray before BAM, blackout, powers out until 9 or so. Thank God for battery powered devices because Maddi and the “friend” watched a movie and the girls and I played cards while Chris stayed on top of the evening’s happening’s and the power outage. 9 rolls around and the power comes back to life, we all settle into our little nooks and peacefully begin riding out the New Year. Now here I become a little vague because I’m getting tired and hovering just above a comatose state when some sort of ruckus begins. Apparently Maddi has a distraught young friend that needs assistance and the assistance involves this young friend coming to our home in this treacherous weather. The debacle begins to unfold and is quickly squashed when it is announced she will be arriving via cab, period. Things calm down and I attempt to revisit my prior state of mind when I’m abruptly disturbed by bright lights shining through my windows. Up I jump, quickly seek out a robe and then go to identify the source of my discomfort without my wits about me yet. To the back door I go, nothing, then a knock from the front door and to my surprise and still beyond my comprehension two Sheriff’s deputies. They ask to come in and I of course say yes and once in they ask for a strange name, only strange because it was unexpected, but it began to jar me out of my sleep induced quagmire and things began to fall into place. Anyway the name, culprit, friend, etc… is indeed here and is wanted for skipping out on a $27 cab fare (which falls on Maddi’s shoulder since the friend was mildly incoherent while Maddi bartered the cab fare with a gift card and bubble gum or something else not interesting to the cabbie, this all transpired while we were sleeping). It’s evident that this falls just short of murder because there were four, I repeat four, patrol cars at our home two of which were parked in our yard. Realizing that I’m outnumbered I give in and cough up $30 with a simple question. Why didn’t the cabbie just knock at the door? At this point there is a fair amount of drama amongst the teenage women and I decide that I’d be better served if I just went to bed and Chris joined me. I kept chuckling for a while on how such a quiet evening had ended with such excitement.
It’s a New Year! Morning is here, negative 15 wind chill out, and it’s time to feed the crew. Pancakes and bacon it is and they are greeted with mild enthusiasm as everyone starts to wade towards the kitchen aromas. Maddi actually makes it down before noon but quickly explains why, it’s a complete New year’s, the other friend had managed to provide Maddi a gift, an oral excrement floor covering. That’s it, in times past this would of been considered a successful New Year’s, we had libations, companionship, cops, and excrement of a foul nature.
New Year’s now over we decide to take the girls and “he” to the Great Wolf Lodge in KC prior to returning Maddi and “he” to Wentworth. In essence this was a good idea the young girls had a blast and low and behold a school friend from Van Meter was there as well and they enjoyed playing with her much more than they enjoyed playing with Dad and Mom and of course Maddi and “he” wanted little to do with the two. There was one little thing I overlooked, Great Wolf really caters to the younger crowd so Maddi and “he” were bored. Yeah they hot-tubbed for awhile and when they tired of this they began planning a more interesting evening with some locally based fellow Wentworth cadets (actually this was taking place on the drive down to KC). So Chris and I take the little kids swimming until 8 and then head up for bedtime stories in the lobby and afterwards we head back to the room for a wind down. Well in the meantime the older crew obviously had been scheming and planning (older crew is now two additional cadets) and when we return they pounce and present their plan. The plan is actually an impression with vague details that Chris and I in our exhaustion fail to pickup on. The impression; the cadets are going to another cadets party (we assumed home) and would be back at the lodge by midnight and “he” was well aware of the consequences of drinking and driving and assured us he would call for a ride if needed. Chris being obviously more alert than I seizes phone numbers just in case Maddi’s phone becomes dysfunctional via human interaction or the lack of. Oh if you picked up on cadets and drinking the answer is No we don’t support it but we try not to be oblivious to the obvious. The night rolls along and Chris being a chronic worrier (thank god) does her best to stay on top of the situation but passes the baton just after midnight and a text from Maddi saying they would be home at 1 vs 12 which was actually cool because she sent it before 12 vs her historic behavior @12:59. 1 rolls around and no cadets so I began the process of rounding them up and getting them home and after about 90 minutes of texting and pleading I get an address complete enough to attempt to pick them up. Yes they are not able to drive for multiple reasons and yes they need a ride but not until 3 (this text comes @ 2:15) and yes the address is a hotel 45 miles away! I had a hard time grasping that I had allowed 4 cadets to go to a hotel party, from experience little good comes from one of those. I begin my 90 mile roundtrip at 2:30 a.m. terrified because Maddi had quit returning my text but “he” was courteous enough to keep me on the hook until I gained enough info to pick them up and based on the text conversation things just didn’t sound great to me. I get to the hotel and to my great relief Maddi answers her phone (the phone she tells her mom just happen not to be working while I was texting away looking for them) and says they are on their way down. The wait is 5 terrible minutes because I still am not 100% sure I’m at the right place but I am and out they come (3 instead of 4 cadets). In my mind I had already played out my frustration and had an agreement with myself not to ride them because they would not listen and because at the most basic level they had at least asked for a ride versus taking a chance not worth taking. Quiet trip back to the lodge with the only interruption being somewhere in the back a window rolled down to which I asked if anyone was too warm and received no response so I just kept things the way the were and finished the drive. Back at the lodge I discover the purpose of the rolled down window, a series of racing stripes created by human projectiles from the depth of ones gastric area and yes “he” was the artist. I, of course, have to photo
these vile stripes for multiple reasons and for recall at some point in the future, like the blog entry I know I’m going to write. All safe it’s time to sleep. The trip wraps up in the late morning with all but the little girls feeling a little shaky and we head to Wentworth to get Maddi and “he” checked back in.
Now why I chose the heading for this blog is because what has transpired over the New Year’s weekend with these young adults is stuff that they have all been warned against, forbidden not to do, and just plain pleaded with to make better decisions. I’m sure all involved can recall their parents vocalizations in regards to what transpired after the fact but for many people it is the experience that helps identify that, hey what my parents said (who actually were never teenagers they were born 45 and will just get old from there) actually, at some level, had some merit.
Many who read this I’m sure will chastise me for letting my child and her friends get into this situation and I respect that. I have never claimed to be the best husband, father, or person, but I can assure you it’s not because I don’t try, I try like hell, which may be a fault in itself. If you happen to be the parents of any the cadets involved I offer my regrets and assure you none of this was candoned. Also at the core of this, for Maddi, I have to let her grow through her experiences and Chris and I do the best we can to help her learn from her experiences. Like most we have pleaded with our children to make better decisions and preached life lessons but fortunately and sometimes unfortunately it is our experiences that shape us and makes life interesting. Chris and I lose much sleep worrying about the well being of our children but at some point we have to realize right or wrong we are doing the best we can and we have to accept that or be controlled by our fears which in our experiences make for trying times. Our parents let us fall when the time was right and we are better people because of it and to our parents I say thank you and how the hell did you know when the time was right!