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Sunday, March 4, 2018

Slice #4- When They Don't Come Home

When my boys don't come home, I am terrified.

Yes, they are 22 and 24, definitely adults.

But they live in my house.

And when I wake up in the morning and they aren't there, I am terrified.

I imagine all sorts of scary possibilities.

Car accidents.

Hospital beds.

Morgues.

Jail cells.

Son #1 has a new girlfriend. On Friday night, I am out to dinner with a friend and he texts me.

Going over to M's house. Don't text or call me.

I'm a keep-your-phone-in-your-purse kind of gal when I'm at the dinner table, so I don't see the text for an hour.

I text back. Thanks. Have fun and be safe. Love you.

He doesn't respond. That doesn't surprise me.

He is not home when I go to bed.

Or when I wake up at 4.

I wonder where he might be.

I assume no news is good news.

I haven't heard from the hospital, or the police, or the county jail, so I hope he's not dead or incarcerated.

But last week, a teacher in my district lost her 24-year-old daughter to a drunk driver.

And at least once a week, I read about an incident involving young African American males and the police.

And I am terrified.

I wait until 7:30, then text him.

I know you are an adult. And I know you had a date last night. Even so, if you are going to be gone all night, I would appreciate a text that you are safe, but not coming home. 

A few minutes later, my phone dings.

Alright, imma stop by work to get my oil changed. 

Phew. OK again.

And once again, I wish my boys had a dad.

Parenting adult children is the hardest thing I have ever done.

7 comments:

Cathy said...

Oh, Carol. I so get this!!! Currently, we have two twenty-somethings living at home and the struggle is real. I try to remind myself that I wouldn't know much of anything if they had their own place but, still, you can't help but be a bit concerned at times. Like you, I find raising twenty-somethings to be an awkward stage in parenting. Sometimes I miss the exhausting days when they were little.

Heather Onderick said...

This is a powerful piece. It doesn't get any easier as they get older, does it?
And I am terrified runs raw in my mind, every minute I let my mind wander when I am away from my 8 month old. It's rare that I let it go to extremes but writing sometimes takes us there.

Thanks for sharing.

elsie said...

Yes, the worry is there when they are not home, but should be. It never goes away, even when the child is thirty-five and lives 2,000 miles away. I understand.

Elisabeth Ellington said...

Such a powerful piece. Why isn't there an easy age to parent?!?! I had hoped it would get EASIER as my son got older, but honestly, I think it gets HARDER, which doesn't make me happy.

Andrea Bortscheller said...

Very well said! My parents still tell me I will ALWAYS be their baby and they will always worry about me. I never fully understood this until I became a mom. As our kids get older, there are more things to worry about.

Michelle said...

Oh, boy, Carol. Is this an addendum to the "Parenting Handbook" that was never written? It has to be so hard. Yet with so many ways for communication, you'd think it would be easier. Praying for you during this stage of parenting!

Karen said...

Carol - this worry is such a real thing! No one is currently living at home, but when they did as adults, I could never go to sleep if they didn't come home without letting me know that would happen.
On a personal note, I realized as I read your slice what draws me into your writing over and over - you wear you heart on your sleeve, and in your writing. Whether talking about your sons, yourself, friends, or students at school, every time I read your writing I am so moved.