Our son started high school and within weeks, our social life stopped cold. All of a sudden, he is out on Friday and Saturday nights with new kids we’ve never met doing various teenage things around town. One night they’re at Off the Grid, the next night at the movies (luckily he has always had jobs that support his new “man about town” lifestyle). On one hand it’s great – he’s off making new friends and exploring independence – but on the other hand, my husband and I are now stuck at home waiting to make sure he gets home okay or on call in case we need to pick him up at some point in the evening.
He is great about checking in and getting home by curfew (9 p.m. if he’s just out with friends), but it’s the shackled to the house feeling that’s killing my social life. In the past three weeks, we have been out late driving to pick him up both nights of the weekend due to football games and Homecoming dances. We had to turn down several offers to go out with our own friends. We haven’t yet sent Uber or another service to get him because 1) some of these nights have been very late (his bus didn’t get back until 2 a.m. from a football game in Fresno!) and 2) we don’t want him to assume that from now on he can just call a car service to get around town.
It got me thinking about my own parents. Looking back, they never went out on the weekends. My husband says the same thing about his parents. We both remember our parents driving us around and never seeming to mind, but more likely, we didn’t notice if they did.
While carpools have taken some of the load off, it’s a very different life with teenagers. Long gone are the days of just leaving a babysitter in charge. We want to be there when he gets home and see what he’s been up to. We also want to be around when he is home because that is becoming so rare. And then we feel an extra obligation to be present when he has friends over because they’re getting to the age where something could happen, and we don’t want to be responsible. We’ve basically decided to suck it for the next few years (six to be exact because we have a soon to be 13-yr-old) and hope in the meantime that we don’t lose all of our friends.
That said, if this is the worst problem we encounter over the next four years, you won’t find me complaining.