Wednesday, January 20, 2010

the gift of a scare

My sweet Pickle. She is 13 and growing up before our eyes. She is so tall and seems to grow each night as she sleeps. She knows what she likes to wear and how she hopes her hair will turn out. She has the 8th grade version of a boyfriend. She is becoming more independent and loves being with and talking with her girlfriends. All of this goes with being a young teen. It's all absolutely developmentally appropriate.

I hope it's also developmentally appropriate for the parents of a young teens to be a little emotionally shaky at times. Someone please tell me yes??

First, let me say I can't even tell you how proud I am of the young woman she is and she is becoming. She is kind and sensitive. She is smart and responsible. She is likable and makes friends easily. She has a smile that lights up a room. She has an awesome sense of humor. She is incredibly good with little kids. She is a loving friend, daughter, cousin, niece, granddaughter and (most of the time) sister. And there is not much I like more than hearing her sing to me.

isn't she cute?

But man, oh man. Being a parent can make one a little crazy. And vulnerable.

See, we had a little scare on Friday. It was nothing compared to what I know other parents go through...but enough of a scare for me--thankyouverymuch. After school, with my permission, she and three of her friends walked to the supermarket shopping center near the school. They planned to have a smoothie and maybe get their nails done. And talk, giggle, and be girlie. She told me friendone's mother was to pick her up. She guessed they would be home by 5--friendtwo had family dinner at that time. The whole thing was similar to plans made in the past--and honestly, the conversation was quick and in retrospect, a little vague. But I had no concerns.

Until it was almost 6 and I realized I hadn't heard from her. We had plans at 7 that she knew about, so I thought that was odd. I no sooner noticed the time and friendtwo's dad called me asking if I knew where they were. They also thought it was atypical to not have heard by this time. So I called Pickle's cell phone. I wasn't sure if she even had it with her...but it went right to voicemail as if it was off. I called friendthree's phone (the only other friend with one) and she told me she had to go home at 4:15 so wasn't with them anymore...but thought they should have been home by now too. Friendone's mom then called. She was waiting for a call around 5 to know when to go get them and exactly where they were...she thought they were possibly going to walk to a park nearby.

Wait. Hold the phone. A park???? That's different than a business where there are workers who would notice them. A park???? They could seriously get snatched from a park! Three attractive 13 year old girls?? Who barely have a muscle between them? Now I was concerned. My hubby waited all of about three seconds to hop in the car and go look for them. He said he drove slowly the whole way in case he might see them along the road home. It was pitch black out...sun had gone down a while ago.

UGH--why hadn't we made the plans and expectations clear??? How could I be so casual with my precious daughter's life in the balance???

Thankfully, the almost-panic lasted just a short while. While friendone's mom and I exchanged cell phone numbers and she prepared to hop in her car as well...her daughter called. They were fine and where we thought they would be. Could they get picked up now?

Relief. Frustration. Anger. Love. Regret. Relief. LOVE. All at once.

That evening my hubby held Pickle and cried. And told her how scared he had been. She cried too. I cried too. Ohmygoodness. Sounds like overreacting to me--but the feelings run deep.

And we learned an important teen-parenting lesson. Know the plans. Clear expectations. Cell charged and with you when you aren't with us. (hello? isn't that why we pay for it?)

So I'm grateful. Not only that Pickle is safe. But for the scary-lesson. It will prevent us making similar mistakes in the future. It reminded us of love.

A scare can be a gift...and I'm unwrapping it today (a day late) with Emily at Chatting at the Sky.


Dawn said...

oh dawn... i've been there a time or two myself. in fact, that is why my kids have cell phones... because if a good scare. not so good when you ae thinking that you told them you loved for the very last time...
but yes, lessons learned. we are new at this, right? in the first stages of giving my kids independence i don't always know all of the questions i should ask... or the information we need to exchange. but i'm learning. and so are you. and next time... oh yes, somehow i have to ler her tyr again... i might get it right.
love ya...

Karen said...

Oh, Dawn that was scary to read, too. So glad all was well. Yes, I had those moments, too. I'm so happy she was receptive to you afterwards. And yes, she is absolutely adorable!

kimsilver said...

You know how i feel about scares. I am glad your scare had a good ending. I haven't always been as fortunate.
Those kids of ours....oh, how we love them. Isn't it amazing how quickly they can reduce us to a puddle of tears? And how quickly they can fill our hearts with pure jubilation, too??
This whole teenager thing is a difficult time....lots of unsure moments. Constant prayer is the answer, for sure. :0)
Love you.

Graceful said...

I don't think you were overreacting -- I was tense reading the play-by-play of this story. I'm so glad she, and you, are all right!

I am so not ready for the teenage years!

Dawn said...

Been there... experienced it... and don't think you were over-reacting. My heart was pounding as I read this even though I was fairly certain it had a happy ending.


Blessings upon you all!

Special K said...

I'm SO glad that you got Pickle back. The alternative would have been horrible. She's pretty special... :)

Melinda said...

Dawn, Dawn, Dawn, we ARE truly living parallel lives! As you know I have a 13 year old, too. Keeping up with locations and plans and pick ups and drop offs is daunting and stomach wrenching. I always feel caught between giving her a little more independence and guarding her safety without being neurotically overprotective. Let me know when you've got that one figured out, okay? ;0)

I'm glad all turned out well ... I know exactly how you must have felt!

Kris said...

I totally get it. And it doesn't get easier... even when they're 18. Maybe I'll worry less when she is at college and not coming home each night? I'm not so sure...

Leigh said...

i saw your comment on angie's blog and just had to come read your story. Let me just say, I am not a mom (well...not exactly we are adopting and the kids aren't home yet so it's debatable about of I am a mom or not, either way not kids in my house yet) and I almost had a panic attack just reading your post and knowing that she was fine. So YES you had every right to totally freak out!

Southern Gal said...

Ugh. That feeling. I've been there a time or two. And the one that scared me the worse was one where plans were vague with my son who was running with a friend. I was the one in the car looking for them and my heart leaped out of my chest when I spotted them many miles from where they should have been. Yes, sometimes a scare is a gift. We learn from our mistakes. Your daughter is beautiful. So happy things turned out the way they did.

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