I have a very interesting weekend the weekend before Easter. I saw some role reversals at my house that I never expected. Our neighbors, Kate and Andrew were going off on a short get away. Drew was staying with friends but Allie wanted to stay home. She is 17 but her parents were not really comfortable with that idea. We offered any assistance we could and it was decided that Allie would have her days to herself but she would spend the night at our house. Allie and I have become very close since we moved here and I was looking forward to the weekend.
Friday evening Allie came over around 9 and visited and watched TV with us. After breakfast the next morning she went back to enjoy her home all by herself. Late Saturday afternoon she came back to let us know she was going out with some friends but that she would be back at our house by midnight. At 17 that seemed reasonable to me. She told me she had the key we had given her and that I didn’t need to wait up.
Allie is as responsible as they come so I wasn’t worried. Tom and I went on to bed. I woke up about 1:00 AM and went to check that she had gotten in safely. Allie wasn’t home. I panicked! The first thing I did was call her cell; it went immediately to voice mail. I had no idea what to do. I knew several of her friends but just their names – not their phone numbers. I didn’t want to call her parents – what could they have done from 400 miles away? I woke Tom who, although he was concerned, spent his time trying to get me to calm down. I was pacing the floor and had a knot in my stomach that would not go away.
I finally stalked to the bedroom to dress; I was going to look for her myself! Tom was telling me I wasn’t going anywhere when Allie pulled into the driveway. I was headed out the door when Tom stopped me “Let her get inside, Cassie. Maybe she has a good reason for being late.” I was too wound up to realize how ridiculous that sounded coming from Tom.
Poor Allie, she has rarely seen me mad and certainly never at her but she had barely stepped in the door before I attacked.
“Young lady, I would like to know where you have been?! You told us you would be home by midnight! Do you realize it is almost 1:30?
She looked more shocked than remorseful, “I’m sorry we all just got to talking and the time got away from us.”
“Time got away from you! And why weren’t you answering your phone? Tell me that!” Oh my, I was on a tear!
“My battery died. I’m sorry Cassie, really. Please don’t tell Mom and Dad.”
“TELL MOM AND DAD!” I shouted, “Girl, your biggest worry right now better be that I know. I’m about ready to wear you out!” I have no idea where that had come from – I felt a bit like I was channeling Tom for the moment.
As I saw Allie’s eyes widen in shock I tried to rein in my temper. “Just go on to bed, we’ll talk in the morning. But you are not to leave this house with out Tom or me until you parents are home! And I don’t mean maybe!”
“But Ryan’s coming tomorrow,” she reminded me, we were going to the beach. “Mom said we could.”
“You’re not going anywhere!” I flared again. “I’ll call Ryan and tell him not to come.”
“Cassie, please don’t…” Allie began almost in tears.
Tom finally chimed in. I had been wondering why he hadn’t been ranting right beside me. “Allie you just go on to bed.” Tom said calmly, “Ryan can come but they’ll be no beach trip. You can visit with him here.”
Allie nodded quietly and went on to her room. I waited until we were in our room before I rounded on Tom. “Why didn’t you have any more to say?”
“Now Cassie, the girl didn’t rob a bank. She just came in late.” I could not believe what I was hearing! How dare he! If I had come in an hour and a half late and hadn’t answered my phone I would have been well on my way to being rump roast before I could have gotten ‘I’m sorry’ out of my mouth.
“I do not believe what I’m hearing! What if it had be me doing that?”
“Yes Cassie,” Tom admitted. “I would have been very upset and I would have warmed your bottom for sure but you are a grown woman who knows better. Allie is a child who made a mistake. There is a difference.”
I was too angry to say any more. I got in bed on my side and turned my back to Tom. I felt angrier at Tom than I did Allie at the moment. Tom, of course, was having none of it and put his arms around me. “Cassie you’re not that mad at Allie, you were scared. Now you know how I feel when you disappear on me.”
I wasn’t ready to give up my mad in exchange for guilt so I said nothing. But finally I drifted off to sleep. Waking the next morning after a fitful night I could admit to myself that Tom was right. I hated that I had shouted at Allie. I lay there wondering what she must think of me. I knew I needed to apologize to her. I love the girl and I was worried that I had done irreparable damage to our friendship.
The next morning I talked to Tom as he got ready to go run, I told him,“Tom I’m embarrassed to face Allie. I know she must hate me now. I’m going to apologize and tell her she can go to the beach with Ryan.”
“Whoa, hold it right there girl. Allie does not hate you and we are not going back on what we told her about Ryan. She made a mistake and she has to pay the consequences.” Tom stated firmly. I was really finding this all intriguing. I had always wondered how Tom and I would have been as parent, some how I had always pictured him as the one who would have been doing the shouting and me taking up for the child. Rather different from the way we had handled things the night before.
Tom and Willow left for their run and I got on up too. I found Allie already in the kitchen waiting on me. She came and gave me a hug as soon as I walked in and told me again that she was sorry. I fixed us some coffee and we sat on the deck to talk.
“Cassie,” she began, “I really wish I would have called last night when I realized I was going to be late. But it was almost midnight then and I didn’t want to wake you.”
“Honey, I shouldn’t have yelled at you that way last night but I had been so scared something had happened to you. I really don’t know where all that came from.”
Allie assured me she wasn’t mad. And we sat in silence for a few minutes. Then Allie turned to me with absolutely pleading eyes. And said “Please Cassie, let me go to the beach with Ryan today. I’ll do anything else you ask me to do but please, please let us go.”
How on earth do parents stand the pressure? I wanted to let her go so bad. She is such a sweet girl and I love Ryan too. But I took a deep breath and said “No.” Then I burst into tears! I just felt horrible. Allie didn’t look any better and Tom came in to find us both upset.
Allie had tears in her eyes as she told Tom she was afraid Ryan was going to be mad at her for messing up their day. Tom told her “Don’t worry; we men get over being mad at the women we care about pretty quickly. You’ll see.”
And when Ryan arrived about an hour later she found out Tom was right. I tell you more about their day later.
Learning Every Day
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