Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Priorities and Responsibilities

This is a story of parenting. This is a story about parents, priorities, and responsibilities.

Imagine that your child invites a friend over for a “late night.” For the uninitiated, this is when one or more children isn’t quite ready for a sleepover, but they like the idea of a sleepover, so they hang out in pajamas from around dinnertime till, say, 9:30 or 10 p.m. OK, so, imagine that your child invites a friend over for a late night. And the child comes over and you exhange pleasantries with the mom and she leaves, promising to return around 9:30 or 10.

At 10:20, when your own children are passed out, when YOU would like to pass out from exhaustion, you suggest that the child call her parents. It will sound less accusatory from her, you figure. So you dial for her, hand her the phone, and hear her ask her parents to please come and get her, because she’s very tired.

The mother asks to speak to you, so you take the phone. She’s apologizing profusely, her husband is already headed to the car, she’s so sorry, and if she tells you what happened, you’ll laugh.

You could use a laugh, so you ask. “What happened?”

“Well, we got a new Wii, and we set it up tonight, and we started playing, and we just totally forgot that our kid was out and needed to be picked up!”

You chuckle politely and say the right things about how it’s fine, really, happens to the best of us, and you look at the kid in your living room and you think something like, “When this kid is on drugs in ten years, her parents will never know what hit them.” Maybe, if you genuinely like the parents, you are more charitable with your thoughts. Maybe it’s just as simple as, “Wow. At least I’m not quite that irresponsible.”

Now. I have to tell you that this story is absolutely true except that, as you may have guessed, I am the parent with the Wii who forgot to pick up her kid.


Teej said...

Oh, sweet WG. I am SO glad it was you. Because as I was reading this I was thinking, "Uh oh... I don't see the big deal and I'm going to have to come out and say LAY OFF THE PARENT, IT WAS AN HONEST MISTAKE, right here in public, to my friend, on her very own blog.

Yes. So glad it was you.

Chaia said...

And I was thinking, "Wow, that kid is lucky to have parents who like each other so much that they lost track of time because they were engaging in an enjoyable activity together." Honestly, 20 minutes is not a big deal. If you would have said that you got the call at, say, 1:20 AM, I might raise an eyebrow or two. Once upon a time, when I worked in drug rehab, I noticed that most hard core druggies came from broken families, or those where the parents hated each other and stayed together out of spite. Honestly, you have nothing to worry about.

Dramalish said...

See? This is what I love about you, WG. I was thinking all the same things you were thinking throughout the entire post... although I was thinking them sheepishly, because that will of course be me in a matter of a few years.

I love your posts.

Natalie said...

I LOVED this post -- so amusing..please tell me when you publish a book - I'll be the first in line to buy it!!! (I was so against my husband on getting the Wii - and now I'm the one whose addicted! ;-)

Lisa b said...

You got a Wii !!

I was also thinking you were being a little hard on this mom, it is a Wii after all.

chrissyt said...

I am not really responding to this post - although it is hilarious - but to all of those others about dealing with life as a parent of a child with a disability. I too am the mother of a child with Sotos Syndrome, and know exactly the horror, frustration and guilt you describe. I always feel that I'm keeping a wave of hysteria at bay, and sense you know exactly what that's like. Thanks for sharing your feelings, and keep the labelling like "Montessoribitch" coming. I've met heaps of those kinds of people. I can't quite match your acerbic wit, but am SO RELIEVED to find someone who doesn't wax lyrical about how beautiful it all is. It's awful, a lot of the time. The challenges of dealing with Sotos test my sanity, turn me into mother from hell and reduce me to infantile rages. And that's before breakfast, after which I head off to my job in the other world where I pretend to be creative, interesting and together.