Sunday, August 31, 2014

Mom the Stalker

On a chilly autumn morning two years ago, when my daughter Melissa was still adjusting to her right of passage transition from the school for babies (middle school)  to the school for cool teenagers (high school), my husband Bob and I both received a text from our offspring, who had just boarded the bus for another day of roaming the halls with hundreds of other teens who would rather be home in bed oh so much fun and learning!

Below is the context of this "loving" text:

"Way to stalk me Mom and Dad."

Bob and I exchanged puzzled looks.

Could she be referring to her Facebook page, where I have been forbidden to comment, post, like, or otherwise indicate to any of her friends that I even exist?  Hmmm, no I didn't think so.

Then why, I wondered, had she accused her innocent parents of the unforgivable crime of stalking. (Which of course, by the mere fact that I gave birth to her, it goes without say that I have complete stalking privileges!)

To properly answer this question, I must take you back in time.  Throughout her elementary and middle school years, Melissa had always boarded the bus in front of our house.  Her mother, AKA Mrs. Overprotective Stalker, waited outside with her, until my embarassed middle school cherub commanded me to stay in the house where I was forced to peek through the window blinds to make sure she safely joined her peers on their daily journey to school each day.

But now that she had entered the "grown up" world of high school, everything had changed! She was now required to walk 3,974 miles  a short block to the corner to wait for her daily transportation.

Being Mrs. Overprotective Stalker, I had a hard time coming to terms with not being able to actually witness my baby in the act of getting on the bus.  However, I realized I needed to accept this new reality.  At 15, I knew my daughter had the intelligence, maturity, and capability to walk to the bus stop on her own.

I had to let her go.

And I did.  For five weeks. Until my insecurity reared its ugly head.

You see, when Melissa left the house at 6:45 am, the autumn sun had not yet peeked above the horizon, forcing her to walk to the bus in pitch black darkness...without me there to shield her from harm.

So I worried...and worried...and worried some more.

Irrational?  Yes.

Logical?  No.

But I didn't care.

I needed to channel my inner stalker overprotective nature and put "Plan B" into action.

I emailed the school, explaining that my daughter walked to the bus stop on a busy, traffic-filled main road, alone in the pitch dark.  Surely they could understand my reasons for requesting that the bus pick up Melissa in front of our house, instead of making her walk the 3,974 miles to the corner, out of range of my line of vision.

Melissa, on the other hand, could not believe just how overprotective her mother could be.

"Mom, I am 15 years old and perfectly capable of walking to the bus on my own," she said in exasperation.

But it no longer mattered.  The change had been made and I now had the privilege to once again stalk peek out of the window and watch until I saw Melissa step safely onto the bus.

However, on that autumn morning when we received her infamous text, I had changed up my routine just a wee bit.  Since I needed to throw clothes in the dryer, I chose to peek out of the window in my upstairs laundry room instead of the living room.  As the bus neared its approach, Bob took that particular moment to come into the laundry room, take off his shirt and throw it into the large pile of dirty clothes in the middle of the floor.  Together the two of us watched Melissa get on the bus, then continued about the mundane business of getting ready for work.

Until we received the text.

Seems that all of the occupants of the bus had witnessed not only me staring out of the window, but also my shirtless hubby peeking out from behind!

The laughter that greeted my daughter as she boarded the bus caused the type of mortified embarrassment that could scar a child for life and result in thousands of dollars of therapy.  Thus the reason for the "love" text admonishing us for our behavior.

So, in the end, I promised not to look out the window in the morning, ever, ever again.

This month, as she starts her junior year in high school, I no longer have to worry about her getting onto the bus because I now have more important things to worry about.....she'll be DRIVING!

Oh help me!

My daughter Melissa with me  - AKA Mrs. Overprotective Stalker!

If you like my stories please tell me in the comments section below!

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Flying on Three Hours Sleep

Six weeks ago, the Weinsteins were preparing to part ways.  For my 17-year old daughter Melissa, a trip to West Virginia for a two week leadership camp....for my husband Bob and me, a trip across the pond for a 10-day vacation to London to celebrate our 20th anniversary!

While my nerves frayed at the thought of Melissa flying without her parents, I took some comfort in knowing she'd be travelling with a number of fellow teens from her youth group.  Still, I wanted to stay by her side through the oftentimes harrowing task of getting through security and finding the correct gate.

Although I didn't have a ticket, I had heard that airlines were willing to give a gate pass to parents of minor children.  Sure enough, the kind representative at US Air did not hesitate when I asked if I could escort my daughter through security and to the gate.  Melissa boarded the plane without incident, and proceeded to have the experience of a lifetime at camp!

Four weeks later, my baby would fly "sans parents" once again, this time to visit her grandparents and cousins in North Carolina.  Ever the bargain hunter, Bob had discovered incredibly inexpensive fares out of a tiny, two terminal airport in Trenton, NJ.

The only downside?  We had to awaken by 4 am so that we could get in the car by 4:30 am so that we could arrive in Trenton at 5:30 am...enough time to get through security and safely onto the plane for the 6:30 am departure!

Of course the Weinstein family snuggled under the covers at a reasonable hour to get a good night's sleep in preparation for our middle of the night journey to Trenton, right?


Instead, we spent the night rockin' out with Billy Joel, who dared to schedule his Philadelphia tour date the night before Melissa left for North Carolina.

So, when the alarm so rudely signaled our wake up call after a mere three hours sleep, three bleary-eyed people, delirious with exhaustion, made our way outside into the early morning darkness and silently embarked on our journey to Trenton.

At the airport, I again waited in line to get a gate pass to escort my daughter through security, while Bob decided to find a parking spot and get some shut eye in the car.

Surprisingly, we were not the only ones who had learned about Trenton's cheap fares, translating into a 20 minute wait behind dozens of moms, dads, toddlers, strollers, car seats, wheelchairs, golf bags, diaper bags, carry on bags, etc.  Finally, when my turn came, I approached the lady behind the counter and I requested the gate pass to accompany my daughter to the terminal.

"How old is she?" came the employee's grumpy response to my request.

"She just turned 17," I replied.

"Well technically, she's not a minor," growled the lady.

Thinking that anyone under 18 was still considered a minor, I kept my contradiction to myself, and calmly explained that I had accompanied Melissa to the gate in Philadelphia, and there wasn't a problem.

"Do you want her to go with you," the lady asked Melissa, as if I were some kind of parasite.

What a ridiculous question!  My baby, my cherub, the love of my love would absolutely want me to be with her!  How could this crazy airport lady even think that my offspring would not want her mommy to be with her!

"Of course she wants me to be with her," I said with a definite air of indignation.

"I need her to answer me," snarled the airport lady.  Then looking Melissa in the eye, she asked again, "Do you want her to go with you?"

Ok, no problem, I thought.  I know that Melissa wants me to be with her.  How could she not want me to be with her.

I looked at my child who was staring at the airport lady with a somewhat glazed expression born out of lack of sleep.  Then, she responded by shrugging her shoulders and uttering the following words: "I don't care."

Yes.  That's right.  The child who I carried for nine months...............

Shrugged. Her. Shoulders.

Yes. That's right. The child who I raised from a six pound infant said....................

I. Don't. Care.

Thinking at that moment that, at the very least, I would not be allowed to escort her through security, and at the very worst, the airline, convinced I was trying to kidnap this teenager, would send someone to arrest me.

Somehow, through continued haggling, the angry airline lady finally allowed me to have a pass so that I could accompany my kid through security.....even though Melissa obviously did not care if I came with her or not. (sob.)

We made it to the gate without incident, only to learn that the plane had been delayed by two hours.  As we settled in for the long wait on the uncomfortable airport chairs, I offered to get Melissa a snack, and in return she gave me a grateful smile.  

I knew that her "I Don't Care" response had come from lack of sleep, not lack of love.  And I also knew that, as the minutes slowly ticked by in the wee morning hours in the tiny Trenton airport, that Melissa was glad to have me by her side.  

Melissa celebrating her 17th birthday on the first day of her two-week leadership camp!

If you like my stories please tell me in the comments section below.