Parental Misguidance

cluelessIt was Friday night—party night!

The kids were off with friends and my guy and I had plans with the neighbors to watch recorded American Idol episodes and eat potluck.

Yep, we’re rowdy.

I was in front of the bathroom mirror deciding whether or not to apply make-up when my date came in, “Yes, put on make-up, and pants without an elastic waistband.”

So fancy! What was he up to?

He explained he’d just found out about a friend’s art show he wanted to attend before we hit the AI party. Make-up and non-knit wear for a cultured night on the town, indeed!

The art show was lovely and the gourmet appetizers completely spoiled me for the neighborhood spread, though I ate plenty of that too when we arrived at the party fashionably late. The number of surprised comments about how I “looked so nice” made me think I should up my game more often. However, my snazzy appearance drew attention to my food consumption, which was no more than usual but apparently nobody notices if you’re a homely snarfer in sweats.

The party was a blast, with witty commentary about the Idol audition process and a friendly debate over which late show Jimmy is better (Fallon, totally). This discussion prompted a desire to watch Tonight Show highlights on YouTube when we got home. We had time to kill before administering threat texts to our teenagers about curfew, so we snuggled on the couch to watch lip synch battles. Will Ferrell’s Let It Go is epic, but I say Emma Stone is reigning champ.

We also got hooked on Jimmy’s goofy games of “Egg Russian Roulette” and “Box of Lies.” We got all giggly and silly and started creating our own “Evolution of Dance” ideas. We felt young and funny, like we were still college sweethearts trying to impress each other.

The night on the town, the party, the laughs, the make-up—all this revelry somehow made us lose track of time, and parenting responsibilities.

It wasn’t until our son came in the door with apologies for being late that we even noticed the time. He had a good excuse: we forgot to pick him up at a friend’s house. We warned him not to let it happen again and sent him straight to bed.

We hadn’t heard from our daughter yet. We called her phone, which rang in her backpack on the kitchen table.


That girl never has her phone when we need to reach her. She’s a good kid so we weren’t worried, though it was unusually late. “She’s probably fine,” we said, anxious to resume our hoopla.

But the artificial bubble of youthful stamina soon burst as the onset of worry, fatigue and anger activated full middle-aged parent mode. We tried calling our daughter’s friends, but got no responses. Just as we decided on a stiff punishment, we had an epiphany. Our daughter had taken her backpack to school that day then went straight to her friend’s house after school, so if her backpack was home…sure enough, she was in bed asleep.

We decided not to punish her.

Don’t worry. I’ve resolved to be much more careful about how often I put on make-up and real pants.

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