Thursday, November 13, 2008

How Did People Parent Before the Invention of Cell Phones?

Turns out, I'm not 100% ready to let go.

The Child is going to compete in gymnastics this year. She's never done it before but she's all inspired to learn, which is awesome. Except that there is no activities bus (unless you play football. WHY IS THAT?) so either she needs to chill at school until I can pick her up or she can take the bus up to meet me at work. The bus up to work plan seemed reasonable and I even had a bus ticket. She knew what bus to take, how to get a transfer, where to catch her connecting bus, etc. etc. I figured it would maybe take her 40 minutes to an hour to get to me...let's say 5pm. That's only an extra 30 minutes of hanging at the office and lord knows there is always something to do.

Did I mention that her cell phone was stolen at the Homecoming dance and hasn't been replaced yet (because the insurance people need a police report number. Seriously. Like the police are going to investigate a stolen cell phone. Remind me next time...even if it IS tell the insurance people it's just plain lost. Thank you).

I was pretty busy at work so I barely thought about her arrival until close to 5 o'clock. At which point there was no Child. Fine. I wasn't sure of the exact times for the bus plus who knows if she actually got out on the dot of 4. I did kinda wish she had her phone so I could check on her progress but really, it's fine.

5:15, I shake off the little ripples of nervousness. Hello? She's nearly 15. She's a big girl. She knows how to ride a bus. More importantly, she knows how to sit near the driver, listen to her iPod and ignore anyone creepy while on a bus. I look outside. It's dark and lashing rain. I hope that she is on a bus and not shivering at a bus stop.

5:30. MAB stops in, taking a break from the board meeting. "She still not here?"

"No, and it's kinda making me nervous".

"She's fine. Geez, she's 15".


"14. You know what I was doing when I was 14?"

"As a matter of fact, I do, and those stories aren't going to be helpful right now".

"Oh, yeah. You're probably right".

MAB went back to her meeting, I went back to the computer to look up bus schedules and try to figure out where my baby was. Stupid bus schedules. They are never very detailed, are they? The times for one stop will be listed and the next stop is 412 blocks away or something, with you left trying to divine if the stop you care about is before, in the middle or after stops A and B. (Which was part of my issue because I really don't know anything about the burg wherein High School is located. I know how to get there and that's that).

I call The Spouse to see if he's heard from her or seen her (maybe she selfishly got a ride home and totally spaced calling to tell me. In which case I'll be pissed but relieved). No Child.

I look outside again. It's darker and wetter than before. And something twisted inside me and I was full on worried. Where was she? How in the world did parents (like mine) let their kids out into the world without cell phones? That's what's bugging me. I let her out of my sight all day but the assumption is she is at school or on the school bus and I have faith that she's OK. But being in that in-between place of not knowing where she is and not being able to call her that is freaking me out. That and the fact that they have late start on Wednesday so I was out of the house before she was and have no idea what she wore to school so how the hell will I be able to give the detectives a description? (Because, obviously, at this point I assume detectives are going to be involved).

At 6pm the house door bell rang and the security camera shot me a picture of this wretched, bedraggled teenager. Poor kid had missed the first bus and the next one didn't come until 5. 5,
I tell you. She stood for an hour in the cold and dark and rain waiting for the bus. (She couldn't go back to school and call because apparently the doors are locked from the outside after 4 or something).

Needless to say, I was thrilled to see her and I told her that the whole riding-the-bus-in-winter-without-a-cell-phone thing was off. Until her new phone shows up I'll be schlepping down to get her. (Not to mention if I'd done that in the first place we would have been home a good 45 minutes sooner than we were).

Yeah, I am ready to let her out into the world on her own. Provided I have a long enough leash.

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Blogger jp opined...

I think you just gave me a heart attack. Not about the bus, but about the "almost 15" part...

November 13, 2008 9:52 AM  
Blogger Anne opined...

contingency plan? ...... If you're not here by 5 which means you've missed the bus, stay there and I'll come get you......

November 13, 2008 10:07 AM  
Blogger TWISI opined...

Checklist for The Child when riding public transportation....

Cell Phone
Menacing Scowl
Brass Nuckles
Security Guard

Ok, now she may go outside.

November 13, 2008 11:27 AM  
Anonymous Lorene opined...

hello friend, my experience is that children dry much quicker than a mother's heart returns to its regular beat! If you have a moment, visit my blog, you've been tagged...if you want to play.

November 13, 2008 12:25 PM  
Anonymous Anna opined...

I'm here cause Lorene tagged you cause I tagged her...I must say, Lorene spoke highly of you and I can see why. I was so worried about your daughter and holding my breath till she was safely with you.

My kids are off on their own and it doesn't get easier. I worry all the time telling myself it would be silly if they lived at home in their late 20's with a wife in tow.

Your experience has been felt in my heart many times as my boys went off to soccer games, college, other states--yikes! People tell me that two year olds are a lot of work, well, grown children are too but in a mental kind of way.

November 13, 2008 1:07 PM  
Blogger Buck opined...

I don't know how in the world a parent even lets a kid out of their sight for one second.
Really. It's beyond me.

November 13, 2008 1:58 PM  
Blogger sageweb opined...

I would have freaked if that would have been Homer.

November 13, 2008 2:00 PM  
Blogger LostInColor opined...

Oh my! Thank goodness she was ok!

November 13, 2008 3:31 PM  
Blogger Miss Healthypants opined...

The poor girl!!!!

Your story had my heart beating fast--I was sure she was okay, but my mother's instinct sure was kicking in, too!

I'm glad she's okay and that you will be picking her up from now on. :)

Also, it's a good thing you have all those Iwanskifest goodies to help you all calm down and enjoy the evening. *smiles*

That was a hilarious song, by the way! Iwanski loved it--and so did I. :) :)

November 13, 2008 6:45 PM  
Blogger Lorraine opined...


Anne, you are way more practical and wise than I.

Twisi, word.

Wise words, there, Lor. And the new blog is splendiforous!

Anna, welcome and come back any time. Sometimes we have pie.

And to think, Buck, I'm actually sending her to EUROPE this summer. Without me. Sheesh.

Sage, all the more because he doesn't have the ability to dial even if he HAD a cell phone.

My sentiments exactly, Lost.

MHP, indeed, I felt that her safe albeit wet arrival was this year's Iwanskifest miracle. And there are more songs where that came from. I'd leave the phone off the hook for the next couple of days if I were you...

November 13, 2008 7:45 PM  
Blogger sfoofie opined...

my mom still wants to know where I am at all times...and I'm 27! it will all come with time - or the arrival of the new cell phone! *hug* you're such a good mommy.

November 14, 2008 5:13 AM  
Blogger Citymouse opined...

I am so with you here--- I never let my kids go anywhere with out the tracking device (cell phone).

Dont want to scare you -- but remember I sent my kid to spain and he came back fine-- I sent him 2 blocks to SCHOOL and he is deaf in one ear.. Just hug um every day.

Maybe Zach and the child should share email addresses and the can compare notes on us and how crazy we are!

November 14, 2008 5:27 AM  
Blogger Maine Gay opined...

Just reading this made me worried. Glad everything worked out okay, especially on a cold, rainy, dark Seattle day.

November 14, 2008 11:18 AM  
Blogger Molly opined...

sounds like my mother. she panics about me riding buses and I'm 18. My mother has a helicopter so I'm sure Dylan can handle a leash...

November 14, 2008 6:00 PM  
Blogger Barb opined...

I'm so paranoid, I'd have already been on the phone to the bus company, the police and all the hospitals! You handled yourself well.
p.s. came here from miss healthypants and sure glad I did!

November 17, 2008 8:58 AM  
Blogger booda baby opined...

1. JP made me laugh.
2. This was a great thriller. I was pretty worried, right up to the end. Even though I was almost sure it would work out fine. Otherwise, you'd have told us in the first sentence. Right?

November 17, 2008 7:06 PM  

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