Thursday, March 26, 2009

It is scary being a parent.

No matter what age your kids are you can’t help but worry about their safety. Once they or their friends reach the age of 17 there is the specific fear that comes when they are in a car driven either by them self or by one of their friends.

J does not drive yet, but he gets lifts to and from school with one or another mate who does. What can you do? You can’t wrap these young adults up in cotton wool. All you can do is hope with every bone in your body that these young people are good and sensible drivers.

Yesterday I had to go to the school as it was my daughter’s parents evening. Afterwards we had to do a bit of shopping. We got back about 7 to a house in darkness. I assumed J would be asleep as per usual. In we went and H popped upstairs. She came back down and asked where J was. ‘Oh ‘ I said – ‘it’s Wednesday. He plays football after school on Wednesday doesn’t he?’ ‘Not till this time he doesn’t,’ said H. I went from perfectly calm to feeling like I was going to throw up in less than a second. It really is not like him to be out without letting me know where he is.

I rang his mobile. J is like all 17 year olds I know in that his phone is never more then two inches from his hand and when I ring him he always answers pretty much instantly. His phone rang, and it rang. As it kept ringing for what felt like an eternity but was probably less than a minute I realised I didn’t even know if he had voice mail – I had absolutely always before been able to speak to him practically straight away. Then the phone was answered. The split second relief gave way to even more panic.

I could hear what seemed to be some kind of disturbance going on; there were raised voices and the general impression was of some kind of crisis. What I couldn’t hear was J. By now I just knew I was about to speak with some total stranger who was going to tell me something terrible had happened. I can’t describe the sheer terror I was feeling. But then I heard J’s voice. ‘Mum’. Only it was so quiet I thought an injured, or at best terribly shocked, J was just about managing to speak to me. By now I was in tears and was yelling at him to please tell me what had happened. I had also managed to scare the living daylights out of my daughter and my mum, both of whom were witness to this phone call.

‘Mum’, he whispered, ‘I’m in the cinema.’

It was Clint Eastwood who was responsible for the noises in the background.

Just one silly little example of how our imagination as a parent can go from zero to full scale worst case scenario in the blink of an eye.

Once I had given him merry hell upon his return for failing to leave me a message about what he was doing, he did get an extra tight hug.


Karen said...

Aw bless you JJ! I glad you gave him a clip round the ear and a hug :)

Fire Byrd said...

Oh yes that feeling of terror and relief and rage and fear... know it well.

Gill said...

I thought it was going to end up wth you ringing him in the middle of shagging- what with the strange noises in the background etc etc.

Rodders said...

Worrying about car crashes...not where I'm from. It's all knives, knives, knives!
Seriously though, that was funny to read! I hope he doesn't read this blog...or more importantly his mates don't. Otherwise he really will get slaughtered...

Yorkshire Pudding said...

You gotta be nice to him because one day - many years off - you may need him to push your wheelchair or paint your granny flat or phone the police when you wander down the street in just your nightie spitting cornflakes. What goes around comes around...

jay said...

Oh, my goodness! I can just imagine how you must have felt! I'm so glad it was Clint Eastwood!

We got the random diallings from phones left unlocked and in pockets, and we also got the phone calls that started 'Mum, it's me. I've had a little accident .. '

No. 2 got through seven (yes, seven) cars in three years. Not all accidents, but breakdowns and failures and just driving old wrecks because we refused to replace new for old when he dented one beyond repair. He learned in the end and is now (thankfully) an experienced and safe, and intact, driver.

Good luck weathering those years!

marc said...

You interrupted that new Eastwood film?? Clint, the icon? Film was a cracker, how could you???

Just being flip -- I'm sure you were scared shitless. Alex is 25 & I still go into a cold sweat sometimes...

J.J said...

Karen - what else could I do?!

Fire Byrd - we have much in commom I think.

Gill - don't even suggest such a thing!

Rodders - I worry about Reidski's lad re the knife culture.

YP - I intend to be extra specially batty especially for him.

Oh Jay - seven cars!!!! How do you ever deal with that!

Marc - I would go and see it, but he has gone and told me how it ends :-(