My oldest, who is now 16, asked us a while back if he could go to a concert with his older cousin, who is 19, in Tucson today. Because I knew that Nolan would just be finished with band camp, and down to his last week of freedom before school starts, I agreed.
This morning, while we were getting ready to leave the house and meet his uncle halfway between Tucson and Phoenix, I started to get a little worried.
**He's not really been down to hang out on his own in Tucson before.
**His cousin, while he's a good kid, does get a little distracted easily.
**I just handed him a chunk of change larger than any I've sent him with before out in public. ($50...which amounts to a windfall, especially when it's simply handed to you, regardless of what you're supposed to use it for).
**What if he gets separated in a sea of bodies from his cousin at the concert? He doesn't know Tucson! Who will he call? Will he think to call?
**What if he decides a mosh pit is a good idea?
**What if he spends his money on hookers and blow? (Okay, I know, $50 is not enough for that, but I'm his Mom, and occasionally, I have leaned toward the dramatic when I'm having a nervy spaz attack.)
In between the admonishments to "stay with your cousin--don't get separated--be polite to your Tia Emma--yes, you might have to go to church with her--no, your blood won't start to boil when you dip your hand in the holy water--make sure you eat something--say thank you" I decided to add "Don't be waving your money around--be mindful of your surroundings--hide some of it from yourself in your wallet so you don't spend it all in one place--maybe it would be a better idea to go into the bathroom, take out what you need, and then go buy your tshirt or whatever--"
At this point, my husband is looking at me like I am insane, and I'm realizing that it's quite possible the boy has put his headphones in and is not listening to me at all. With a roll of his eyes I am certain he saves only for special occasions, my husband does not miss a beat: "That's stupid."
"What? I'm just telling him to be cautious! There's nothing wrong with that! Shrimpy Nana does that all the time! She leaves her basket with me, and goes into the bathroom because she hides her money in her bra! It's not so crazy! You've had lots of money in your wallet at Disneyland, you don't open it up like an idiot and wave it around, do you? You've been behind people in line who pay stupid, with a giant wad of money that screams "rob me" and that's annoying! I want him to be careful!"
My husband shakes his head and right when I think he might be about to agree with me, he starts to mock me:
"No, when I'm at Disneyland, I don't wave it around, I just..." at this point, he starts semi-shouting "Hey everyone, I've got a TON OF MONEY! I'M GONNA PAY NOW! WITH ALL THIS MONEY!! I'VE GOT AN ATM CARD, TOO, BUT I'M NOT GONNA USE IT! BUT I HAVE ONE! JUST SO YOU KNOW!!!"
I'm laughing so hard I'm crying, because it's one thing to realize you're overdoing the parenting, and another to realize that yes, that was something completely ridiculous that not only came out of your mouth, but you were absolutely serious about it at the time. There is just no defense, no way to save face and recover from that. So I laughed at my own advice and figured it wouldn't matter anyway, he's a teenager and it's in one ear, out the other.
Geez. It's too late for me to consider loosening the apron strings, I need to cut them and be done with it. He's 16, and I need to let him experience some of the world on his own, bit by bit, beyond walking to Circle K by himself, before I kick him out the door in a couple of years.
My husband will have to answer any phone calls that might come in the middle of the night tonight.
I'll be in the bathroom, ripping out the seams of the pockets in my bras.
Because you never know! What if the man behind you in line wants to steal your purse! You'll be left with nothing! Cochinomaranos!
Shrimpy Nana. Sometimes, I wish the things she's said to me over the years would fade from my brain, like long division and the Pythagorean Theorem....instead of digging in, waiting for the right moment to come out of my mouth and confirm the truth about my precarious hold on sanity.