Monday. Just another day.
For my two youngest girls, Brigitte and Charlotte, it is Spring Break. No school for a week. I have been spending some time with them in the morning and going in to work a little later.
My original Monday plan was to stay back late at work in downtown Washington DC, then go on to a Writing group meeting in the city.
My original Monday plan was, well, stupid. I assumed that my daughter, Brigitte, would do what she said she would do. I will pause for a moment for other parents to laugh hysterically at my foolishness.
How dumb am I? Worse, I had already fallen for this 24 hours earlier when I offered to drive her to her friend’s house (who lives miles away) for a sleepover only to have Brigitte and her friend so badly mess up the plans that her friend’s mother and I both arrive at the same time to make the long journey. Quite a driving inconvenience for her friend’s mother in this case.
Brigitte’s friend’s mother (I hope you’re keeping up) was supposed to bring Brigitte home to McLean on Monday afternoon. This failure to achieve a driving quid pro quo will rebound on me in the future and I will be stuck with some early-morning jaunt to return the favor.
When I heard from my youngest, Charlotte, that Brigitte had not come home by dinner time, had not called, and and was not answering her cell phone or responding to text messages, I came home to coordinate the usual Search-and-Resuce Mission that parents do when their troublesome teenage girls make up their own plans at the last minute without telling anyone and ‘disapparate’ into some squealing teen dimension.
Getting the friend’s mother on the phone was easy but not helpful. Her English is very poor (they are diplomats, not locals). Through gentle interrogation, I eventually learned that the girls had been dropped at a large local shopping mall earlier in the day without any supervision or plans for retrieval. Also, it was now three not two giggling girls, and boys were going to join them — eek! Armed with this information, I fired off some carefully-worded text messages that implied I was increasingly frantic (which I wasn’t). I fiiiiinally got a very tentative return phone call from my errant daughter who had sensed that maybe messing up my evening plans two days in a row wouldn’t turn out well for her.
It’s too late to cut a long story short.
I wandered along to the mall, picked up Brigitte, listened to her fervent promises that she would always keep me informed of where she was going and be organized forever more (or, at least until the next thought crosses her mind), and then headed off back downtown for my meeting.
If you want to learn patience, you can become a monk and chant away the best years of your life with not much of a pension plan to show for it.
Or you can grow some teenagers, revel in their adolescent wanderings (remembering all the crazy things you did even as you put on your best stern voice when it’s warranted) and you get to love and be loved … and perhaps live with them when you are old and infirm.