Mar. 23, 2017

I Love You, Too.

In spite of my worries about parenting, I think I did okay. I tried to keep the lines of communication open with them. I allowed them to talk to me freely without repercussions and reprisals when things concerned them. I look at my children today and, like most parents, I am very proud of them and what they’ve grown-up to become. One of the times I was the most proud, was when my daughter was getting married.

I was getting ready to go to her bridal luncheon and my son, who was also a part of the wedding party, wanted to come too. “No, you can’t,” I said explaining why. “This is for the women in the wedding group.”

“Well what do the men do?” he asked feeling quite left out.

“They have bachelor parties,” I answered with a laugh.

Still frowning, he declared (at the age of 14), “They better have strippers, that’s all I got to say.”

While sitting with the other girls in the wedding party: Beth, Christine, Jessica and Stephanie, I listened as they talked about some experiences they’d had growing up. After all, these five girls have known each other for most of their lives. Amber and Beth (the Matron of Honor) have been friends the longest, since kindergarten.

 At one point, Jessica turns to Amber and says, “Where were you when that happened? I don’t remember you being there.”

“I was on lock down,” Amber answered taking a bite of her food.

“What? You were on what?” I asked. I was a little surprised but nonetheless, amused at her phrase.

She smiles and says, “That’s what I call my teenage years. You know, all those years you were trying to keep me on the straight and narrow.”

“Oh yeah, I remember lock down,” Stephanie says.

Stephanie had lived with us for two years so I’m sure she knew what it meant. All of the girls seemed familiar with the phrase so apparently it was a common reference while they were growing up. I don’t regret it though. My children, for the most part, were very well behaved.

I’ve always said, “God knew what he was doing by giving me these children because things could have been much worse for us.” They could call it lock down all they wanted.

After the luncheon as we were going out to our cars, my daughter stops me  to kiss my cheek and whisper in my ear, “Thanks for caring enough to put me on lock down, Mom.” 

Yeah, it could have been worse.

Not long after her wedding, my son and I decided to have lunch together. At his insistence, I was not allowed to call Amber and invite her.

“Why not?”

“Because this is going to be just me and you,” he said pulling me out the door. “Don’t even bring your cell phone either.”

“I have to take my cell phone with me,” I started saying without finishing.

Reese interrupted me with, “No! If you do, Amber will call and you’ll answer it and then she will want to come too. This is just me and you.”

I tucked my phone into my purse. “What if your dad calls? He’ll be worried if he can’t reach me at home or on my cell.”

“Okay,” he conceded. “If Amber calls, just don’t answer it. You can tell her later that you forgot it in the car or something.”

Sure enough, five minutes after being seated at the restaurant, my phone rings. As I was picking it up, my son jumps up and yells, “No! Don’t answer it!”

“I have to answer it,” I said laughing.

“Don’t tell her where we’re at then,” Reese insisted.

Amber asks, “Where are you?”

I’m hesitant but I answer, “I am having lunch with your brother.”

“Where?”

More hesitation as I look across the table at Reese who is steadily shaking his head negatively at me while putting a finger to his lips in motion of a whisper. “I can’t tell you,” I say.

“Why not?” Amber demands with force.

“Because your brother wants to have lunch with me alone.”

“I will find you!”

Click.

“What did she say?” Reese asked feeling he’d won the battle.

“She said she was going to find me.”

“HA!” he declares jubilantly and giggles. “Why do you think I had to you park over a block away? I knew she would call. This way she won’t know where we’re at.”

In less than five minutes later, my daughter strolls through the door, waves the hostess away (she knows where she’s going) and smacks her brother on the back of his head as she sits down next to him. “She’s my mother too,” she snaps at him.

And so my lunch went with my newly married daughter, and my disgruntled son, throwing optical darts at each other throughout the meal. As we were leaving, they made up (kind of).

Amber, the petite, tiny child, hugged her little brother, the larger of the two, and told him she loved him. Upon receiving no reply she grabbed him and growled, “I said ’I love you!’ What do you say?”

“I dunno,” he answered unsure of what reply she was looking for from him.

“You better tell me you love me, too, or I’m kicking your ass,” she demanded.

Meekly and a little red-faced, he answered, “I love you, too.”

“That’s right! From now on, whenever I tell you I love you, you better say it back to me and I don’t care how old you are, either. I will hunt you down and kick your ass until you start saying it back to me!”

And so it goes: anytime they are on the phone or leaving one another in person, they always tell each other, “I love you.”

I swear, I don’t know where she’s learned all this bossiness.