Although he may be pushing the envelope and making Coach and I crazy, Laddie has never gotten into any real teenage trouble . . . yet. In September our oldest texted us from our friends' house where he was babysitting. He was seeking permission to swing by his friend Buddy's house after his sitting responsibilities were complete. Permission denied. The next morning Eddie alerted us that Laddie was struggling to get out of bed to caddy. Coach informed me that he heard Lad come home at 3am. We contemplated letting him off the hook from caddying since his sitting job ran so late. Coach, a former sneaky teenager extraordinaire, suggested that our friends weren't really out until 3am. Perhaps Lad had disobeyed and driven to Buddy's house after all. I decided to call his bluff. he went to his friend Buddy's house straight from a babysitting job and landed home at 3am. I decided to call his bluff. I poked at my snoozing lump of a son and leaned in close enough for him to hear my whisper. 'I will verify what time our friends arrived home last night, so if you went to Buddy's house you better haul your butt out of bed and prepare to caddy.'
'I went to Buddy's house,' he moaned as his I-babysat-so-late fake-out was discovered. He undoubtedly pondered walking the golf course in the hot son on a few hours of sleep. He balked when I insisted on phoning his friend's folks to apologize for Laddie's late 'hang out' time. He played right into my hand begging me not to call Buddy's parents. 'You are ruining everything,' he mumbled as a big bagel bite dropped out of his mouth. 'What exactly am I ruining?' I wondered aloud. 'I want to be sure his parents understand that you didn't have our permission to show up at their house after midnight and hang out until 3.' The truth spilled out of him like an open beer can dumped in the yard when someone's parents pull up unexpectedly. Lad admitted it. Buddy's folks were out of town. That was it. His biggest teenage sneak. Epic fail.
We haven't had any other major incidents -just the standard lack of respect, ignoring basic rules, and neglect of responsibilities. I attribute his ability to stay out of trouble to his busy sports schedule and school assignments. Although . . . knowing his grades, I suppose sports should take most of the time consuming credit. As a senior in high school, his choices are becoming increasingly questionable and his impulses less and less sensible. It seems that at every turn he tells us less and we worry more. Could he and his friends really hang out at Portillos restaurant as often as he claims? College could not come soon enough.
On March 4th, Coach and I traveled to Arizona for a long weekend. Coach attended a course for a few of the days and I relaxed by the pool and wrote. The logistics of managing adequate supervision for the kids while we were away was mind boggling, but I thought we had all of our bases covered. The kids were farmed out to friends' houses for the weekend, and one of Coach's employees-who is like family -was going to watch the gang for the part of our absence that overlapped with school days. I enlisted my mom to lock the dead bolt on the interior garage door (which we rarely use) once the kids had all vacated the house for the weekend. Without a spare key available, reentry would not be a possibility. This brain child plan was in place solely for the teenager contingent. I made it clear that everyone was to be out by 5 pm. I wanted to avoid a teenage party or even a small gathering of teens on our property while we were away.
Our house sits on the corner and faces the culdesac while our driveway juts out towards the perpendicular street. My mom called to let me know that she had locked up the house. Before she made the 2 minute drive home, she drove into the culdesac to convince herself that the front porch lights were left on. Confident that the lights were burning, something else in the culdesac caught her expert eye. Having rarely missed an episode of Angela Landsbury's popular detective series from the '80s, Murder, She Wrote, she realized that Laddie's car was parked in the culdesac. Odd. He usually parked on the driveway, and besides he wasn't home. Or was he? Mom returned home and called me in Arizona to find out if there was a reason his car would be on the street around the corner from the house. After a short conversation, we concluded that he was still in the house. Hiding inside while my mom secured the perimeter would allow him to unbolt the door and have free reign over the house while we were out of town. She returned to the house with my dad as her backup and found him in the basement. He had tossed aside the video game he was playing in the basement when he heard her come back inside the house. He hid in the storage room. A real life squatter.
Turns out his friend was given a concert ticket for that night, and he wouldn't be home until late. He claimed that he was trying to avoid the awkward situation of hanging out at his friend's house minus his friend. Although we initially suspected that he was planning a party or at the very least hoped to invite some friends over, we decided that his 'just want to chill at home' story sounded very believable.
I confided in Coach that perhaps we needed to stop suspecting Laddie of the worst possible behavior or he would choose to do exactly what we accused him of. I'm all too familiar with this scenario. I survived the most unreal, over the top grounding in high school for something I hadn't done. After surviving my ridiculous house arrest in the '80's (which I blame in part on my siblings who never gave my parents any reason to even raise an eyebrow), I chose to sneak around and break rules at every opportunity. Turns out, as a high school-er I was smarter than my parents. Learn about my rebellious streak in my next blog entry . . . a grounding to learn from.