Lying. This is a biggie for me, being a child of divorce with abandonment issues. I can handle most any kid related screw up but lying. The phone didn't ring, allowing me to sleep until 5 AM when I woke with a start. I knew the second my eyes were open that he had not called. I grabbed my phone off the nightstand and punched the missed calls log. Nothing. Lifted the receiver on the house phone. No interrupted dial tone indicating a message. He had not called when the concert was over or when he safely arrived at his friend's house. Two checkpoints skipped and it was now 5:15 and I was full of adrenaline. I called his cell - straight to voice mail. I called his friend's cell. Same. I called his again. Same. I got dressed.
"Don't go over there. It's too early, you'll wake everyone up," my husband sleep talks from the bed.
"Uh-huh,” I agree as I pull my hair into a ponytail and start to wash my face.
I called his cell again after I got my shoes on and I'd headed for the back door. Voicemail again.
I'm pissed and a little scared. Mom mode. Odds are he just screwed up. Of course his friend's mom or someone would have called if there were an accident. Or an arrest. Or he'd OD'd. And then there was the possibility that his friend's mom was too distraught over the death of her own son to tell me about mine. Or they hadn't found the body yet after the car went off the bridge. All this ping ponging through my uncaffeinated brain as I wind up the narrow redwood lined road to the house where I was going yoink my brat kid from a warm bed to kick his ass.
I didn't knock or ring the bell. I let myself in through the garden gate, and down the steps passed the pool to the first door. I knocked and listened to the birds and noted that the sun hadn't yet come over Blithedale Ridge. My cell rings. My husband, urging me to go get coffee, calm down and wait an hour before I barge in and embarrass our son. Sensible advice.
“Good idea. Okay.” I say.
I knocked again and a sleepy teenager answered. My guy was across the pool in the main house and I asked the boy if he would tell him that his mom was here. When he came to the door, he looked worried, and asked what was wrong.
"You didn't call."
"Yeah I did."
"No, you didn't. Get your things and meet me in the car." I thanked the sleepy messenger and walked back up to the street and waited for him in the car.
He didn't waste time, threw his things in the back and got in the passenger seat bare foot and bleary eyed. He insisted that he had called after the show, at 11, until I showed him my call log on my phone and asked to see his. Nothing since 9 pm. Then he says he was too caught up in the moment, that his phone, keys and jacket were rolled in a ball under the seat where he couldn't reach them. Excuses.
I am so relieved to have him in the car, that he is whole and alive and so fucking pissed at him that I tear up when I say, "You lied. That is the part that disappoints me the most. Why you would feel you need to lie to me. You had an opportunity to establish a foundation of trust here. It was so easy - all you had to do is call and check in. I want you to go out in the world and be with friends and see music and have fun. I want you to show me you can do this and make good choices and be safe and check in. I have to ask myself, what would cause you to not check in? You are always so good about this. And then you lie. That's the worst part."
Now, my six foot two inch, 185-pound boy is shaking and tearing up and apologizing. "I screwed up, I'm sorry, but I swear I didn't drink or do drugs."
I nod, "well, fine. But you also swore that you called. So there's that."
I'll never know why he didn't call. I do know he'll at least think about it next time, and hopefully he will get it right. That morning I made him sit with me at the Depot and have coffee and chat for over an hour while the sun came up. He was clearly uncomfortable and really didn't look too good. I enjoyed that. His leash has been drastically shortened and did he ever make a nice Mother's Day breakfast for me the next morning, complete with coffee just how I take it. He volunteered to unload the dishwasher and asked if he could help me plant tomatoes. He and his brother took me to see Star Trek. He accepted his younger brothers ribbing about how 'mom kicked your ass'. Sadly, I know I'll do it again.