Prom season has returned to America, and parents all around the country are discovering new gray hair and worry lines. Adding to my aggravation this past Saturday was the fact that I was going to be working. Once again the teenager would be riding around with the boy I hadn’t met yet , this time well after dark, and on a night notorious for drinking and even more nefarious activities.
Kayla attends a much smaller school this year than last, where the Prom is open to anybody to attend, not just upperclassmen. This would be her first formal dance that she went to with an actual date.
The day was spent primping. Hair was done, as well as fingers and toes. I was gone before the final unveiling, but technology being what it is today I had several pictures not long after they were taken, including several of the two boys that would be escorting Kayla and her friend. My wife assured me that they were polite and respectful.
Another thing about today’s technology is that pretty much anybody is accessible at any time. Even from work I was able to send the boys a quick message about drinking and F’ing around while driving. Kayla had been reminded several times that my wife expected text messages whenever someplace was left or arrived at.
Our rules were fairly simple. Have fun, be careful, and keep us informed about where you are. The mother of the girl whose house Kayla would be spending the night at assured us that the boys would not be doing the same.
Unfortunately these rules weren’t quite simple enough. The required phone call was made at 10:00 PM to say that the dance was fun and after a quick stop for one of the guys to change, they would be headed to the other girl’s house to watch a movie. Perfectly reasonable. She was told to call or text when they arrived and that would have been the end of our involvement in her night, satisfied that we had done our due diligence.
Repeated calls to the phones of all involved went to voicemail. Messages went unreturned.
Benefit of the doubt was given for an hour. The second hour was spent alternating between being worried and really pissed off.
At hour three I drove to the girl’s house and hauled Kayla’s ass home.
Having now ruined her life forever, the ride home wasn’t fun. All the phone’s batteries needed to be charged. Maybe, but incidental. They weren’t doing anything wrong. Probably, but also not exculpatory. She didn’t realize it was such a big deal. Doubtful that’s a mistake she’ll be making again.
As far as I’m concerned, the situation is over. This was her first time going out like this and I believe that she honestly just didn’t place as much importance on checking in as she should have. Hopefully the lesson has been learned. Her mom and I are also getting used to this new reality. Finding a balance between strict but fair might take us some time.
On a positive note, the “friend” contacted me the following day to apologize. He accepted blame, made no excuses, agreed that our rules are the only rules, and promised not to hold any of this against Kayla. All correct answers that made a very positive impression on me. I plan on telling her that as soon as she begins speaking to me again.