Brave New World of Parenting

I am so proud of my kids.  Most people are proud of their kids, but this week, I feel especially proud.

My husband and I did something very scary this weekend.  We left the kids home by themselves overnight.  It was my daughter’s idea.

Now, those of you who have declared us delusional and insane, please allow me to explain how this situation evolved.

My parents, incredibly generous souls that they are, have in the last few years taken a new approach to birthdays and anniversaries.  Once a year, between my sister’s birthday and mine, they treat us and our husbands to dinner and tickets to a Broadway show.  This covers all four of our birthdays and our two anniversaries.  It is a real treat for us, as we sisters and our men are really never able to double date – just the grown-ups.  They live in New York, we’re in Baltimore, and when visits happen, they’re entire-family-style.

This year, my daughter launched a gentle protest.  She has a job, likes to sleep late in her own bed on the weekends, and didn’t feel like being schlepped up to NY so her parents and aunt and uncle could go out.  She’s 16, one of our sons is 14, and the other son is 9.  They all love seeing their NY family, but she was angling to stay home.

“I’d arrange all my rides myself – to and from work.  If I made any plans, I would take care of finding transportation.  You wouldn’t have to worry about any of it.”  Ya know, except for the worrying about it that I ‘d normally do if I was 200 miles away.  Older son is catching wind of this, and starting to like the idea.  I mean, if his sister wasn’t going, maybe he could stay home, too – he won’t admit it, but he likes family visits more when she’s around.  Then came the potential clincher.  “Think about it – we could take care of Leo (9YO) and you guys could have a grown-up weekend without the kids!”  Oooooooh, she’s a sly one, she is.

We said we’d think about it.  We mulled.  We discussed.  We asked Leo if he would rather come with us or stay home if the big kids were allowed to stay home.  He said he’d rather stay home.  Truthfully, we felt if Leo stayed home, there were actually FEWER chances of irresponsible behavior on the part of the older kids.  They really adore him and take great care of him if we’re not around.  I consulted my parents about this potential arrangement.  My father would give Emma the keys to a new Lexus if he could, but my mother is a little more reserved in what she thinks is okay to allow the kids to do.  So, when SHE said she thought with the right preparation and precautions, it would be fine, I exhaled and the deal was done.  “But I want TO GET CREDIT for this, got it???  Your kids OWE ME.”  “I promise, Mom, they will know of your part in this,” I assured her.

We prepared them ad nauseum.  We put safety nets in place.  We established simple and hard and fast rules, like the boyfriend couldn’t come over after work, the garage door had to stay closed, no candles, GPS on their phones must be ON at all times, no word of it on any social media, etc.  We enlisted a few of our neighbors and a close friend to keep their cell phones on in the event of a medical or safety emergency.  We advised the neighbors to keep their eyes and ears open for smoke, parties, roaming zoo animals, anything that might seem out of place in our tiny neighborhood with houses very close to one another.  They agreed, and even spoke some encouraging words about how mature our kids were, and they weren’t worried.

So, after breakfast hugs and squeezes and warnings and copies of instructions and phone numbers strategically placed in practically EVERY ROOM OF THE HOUSE, Dave and I got into the car and drove off.  We couldn’t believe it.  We were really at the stage where we could go away for a night?  Birds chirped, holding the ends of rainbows in their beaks, leading the entire way up the New Jersey Turnpike.  We didn’t even double to check to see if the kids were with us when we left the rest stop.  We were pretty okay with this, despite the slight, nagging fear that the house would look like this when we came home:

stock-photo-saint-louis-missouri-april-debris-from-destroyed-homes-and-property-including-overturned-76017211

We made random contact with the kiddos a couple of times, knew Emma got safely to work and back, texted with Nicky about the pancakes he was making Leo for dinner, and knew when they were all home for the night.  My parents even joined us for dinner, so it was a rare TRIPLE date.  I don’t think that has happened for 17 years.  After dinner, we saw “Book of Mormon” and laughed and laughed.  Spoke to the kids in the morning, grabbed bagels and took off for home.

It worked!  We pulled it off!  The kids pulled it off!  They were fine, didn’t miss us, and barely noticed when we walked through the door.  They noticed the Brooklyn bagels we left on the counter, but otherwise, it was as if we never left.  We congratulated ourselves, and patted the kids on the back for being so mature, responsible, and trustworthy.  They’re growing up.  So are we.

(P.S. Then later that night I got into bed at midnight and got a text from Emma saying she needed a ride home from a party that was being busted up by the cops and she was cooperating with the cops but she couldn’t leave until they spoke to me and when I got there and she blew zeros on the breathalyzer they let her go and I told her ass she was lucky she didn’t get a citation and we gave her a painful lecture at 1 a.m. and then I got into bed at 2 am and then at 3:30 am Leo came into our room and threw up.  The end.)

  • Max Olivewood

    Glad you got to have a grown-up weekend. May it be the first of many. Just one question: How can birds chirp and hold the ends of a rainbow in their beaks at the same time?

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/theworthingtonpost Aliza @ The Worthington Post

      The birds thread the rainbow through their teeth. Obviously.

  • Barbara Lirtzman

    I LOVE IT!!! It WAS great seeing you, and having a grown-up evening..Also, very happy that things went so well with the kids. They ARE amazing kiddos. Now, about that breathalyzer….

    Tons and tons of love to ALL, me

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/theworthingtonpost Aliza @ The Worthington Post

      What about the breathalyzer? It read all zeros when she breathed into it! :D

      Thanks, Mom. <3

  • Vivian

    Fabulous story Aliza! Loved the ending!

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/theworthingtonpost Aliza @ The Worthington Post

      Hee. Thanks, Viv! Personally, I think the post is nothing without the ending. :)

  • http://gravatar.com/momfluential momfluential

    That last paragraph…. LOL!

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/theworthingtonpost Aliza @ The Worthington Post

      At least all hell waited until we got home to break loose.

  • http://www.facebook.com/nctrovato Nicole Coriaty Trovato

    Love this!

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/theworthingtonpost Aliza @ The Worthington Post

      Hee. :)

  • http://www.facebook.com/hollynyny Holly Rosen Fink

    You are raising your kids WELL. Glad it worked out – well deserved (and I want to see Morman!)

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/theworthingtonpost Aliza @ The Worthington Post

      Thank you so much, Holly! Yes, I’m lucky all the crazy waited until I got home. :) As for Mormon??? Second year we tried for it, but this year actually scored tickets – you will LOVE it.

  • http://musingsonmotherhoodmidlife.com Estelle Sobel Erasmus

    You are a brave lady. I’m so glad it worked out well for you…and your kids, and I believe your preparation was a huge part of the success.

    Estelle

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/theworthingtonpost Aliza @ The Worthington Post

      Thanks, Estelle – we’d like to think so, too! That and luck… :)

  • http://AskDoctorG.com/questions/ Doctor G

    I LOVE this. I love that you did it, I love that they handled it, I love that they waited til you were home to fall apart. Way to go!

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/theworthingtonpost Aliza @ The Worthington Post

      Hehehe – Thanks, Dr. G! :)

  • Elissa Freeman

    ROFL x 100. That is all.

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/theworthingtonpost Aliza @ The Worthington Post

      :D

  • http://peekababyny.com jessica @peekababy

    I am particularly impressed that your littlest one waited until you got home to puke. Ain’t that always the way?!

    My kids slept over for the first time at my parents house a couple of Saturday night’s ago (about 15 blocks away and my husband and I did all of the pre-bed ritual with them before we left) and I still freaked out about every 15 minutes. I am in awe of the fact that you left the state.

    Book of Mormon rocked!

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/theworthingtonpost Aliza @ The Worthington Post

      OMG, I wish my parents lived close enough that I could deposit the kids there for a night – I cannot imagine waking up to a quiet house with just my husband… :)

  • http://hadasseviatar.com Hadass Eviatar

    Yay for you and your kids! We left ours (almost 17, 13.5 and 10) alone overnight a couple of weeks ago for the first time, too. Luckily nobody got busted or puked even when we came back … but isn’t it nice to know you are still needed …

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/theworthingtonpost Aliza @ The Worthington Post

      Wow, Hadass, you got away relatively unscathed!!! I dread the day they need me and I’m NOT 20 minutes away. So nice to know I’m not the only parent who has done this! :)

  • http://www.travelgardeneat.com Kat B.

    Goes to show you, just when you think you’ve turned the corner with parenting, that next pothole is waiting for you! Great post. ~ Kat

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/theworthingtonpost Aliza @ The Worthington Post

      You have no idea how apt that pothole reference is. I grew up in Brooklyn. :)

  • http://talkaboutcheesecake.wordpress.com Piper George

    Brilliant ending. It’s reassuring to know that, while they are old enough to be left alone, they still need their mum.

    Luckily mine are far too young to be making me redundant yet! Phew.

  • http://pinkcharmsoul.wordpress.com pinkcharmer

    Reblogged this on muxka waxim.

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/theworthingtonpost Aliza @ The Worthington Post

      Honored!

      • http://pinkcharmsoul.wordpress.com pinkcharmer

        :)

  • http://pinkcharmsoul.wordpress.com pinkcharmer

    hahahah … that was really nice to read …. the last part was hilarious .. :P :)

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/theworthingtonpost Aliza @ The Worthington Post

      Hee! Thank you so much! Yeah, it’s really not much without the ending… :-P

      • http://pinkcharmsoul.wordpress.com pinkcharmer

        yup .. and it was a pleasure reading :)

  • http://www.sittingpugs.wordpress.com sittingpugs

    I adore this post so much.

    If this post were flesh-and-blood, it would look like this girl with her elephant. If it were an animated gif, it would move like this reindeer.

  • http://gravatar.com/tenoclockbird tenoclockbird

    I love this! I will be reading much more of your stuff, I can see. I have 3 kids, a girl (9), a boy (7), and another boy (3). Seems like a similar age distribution as yours. I will be watching to see more about how you are surviving, since I live in fear of the teenage years. :) Glad everyone did so well with the night alone! I’m impressed with all of you!

    ~Bird

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/theworthingtonpost Aliza @ The Worthington Post

      So kind! Thank you! I’m not always so political, but when the moment’s right… I’m so glad you’re bopping around the site! The kids will be fine. Promise. You will be gray, but they will be fine. :)


CLOSE | X

HIDE | X