In the past week there've been two times I knew there was an extra teenager in my house. Once the indicator was a '65 Mustang out front. We don't have one, but Liam Bourdo does. A few days later, I came up in the morning to find a skateboard just inside the front door. None of my kids does that, so someone was over. It was Logan, who lives a few towns over, and had been doing fireworks with Marty and Holly the night before. No problem. It's nice to think of our house as a safe place for teens to show up and stay.
I just don't sleep long sometimes. It's been that way since I was a teenager. Sometimes I only sleep five hours and I'm done.
So I woke up at 2:00 (went to bed at 10:00) and tried to sleep. Tried to read. Tried drinking water but there wasn't much there. Got up quietly. House is quiet. But on the clipboard by the front door was a note that said "Went to Ryan's, Marty, 3:06 AM"
Well, the writing wasn't that clear, and it wasn't quite 3:06 AM yet. And if *Marty Dodd* left the house at that time, on a night when he's working the next day, that's some kind of physical or dire social emergency. I looked outside and sure enough, a car was gone.
But Marty was in the bed. I looked again, and possibly that "AM" was a "PM." And I knew Marty had been at Ryan's yesterday afternoon, and had left while I was away from the house.
But since I was on mom-alert now (and confused) I looked in Kirby's room, which had no Kirby. I got on the computer to see if he was online. His phone showed, so...
I love electronic connections—love, love, love them. Without any phones ringing or me talking (which might have woken Marty up), I know Kirby's okay. The "Glad there's a way to know" is half snarky, because he could've and should've left a note on the clipboard too. "Glad you're safe" was absolutely sincere, and other unwritten thoughts were sincere too.
I didn't ask what hotel or who he's with. Doesn't matter. Probably Howard Johnson's where many gaming tournaments are. It's not far from here.
When things like this happen, I can't help but think of how different our lives could be. Most people (in the high 90 percents) would wish me (and tell me and expect me) to be angry about getting up and finding a kid gone. But the fluidity and the trust and openness makes it safe in ways they probably couldn't even start to imagine. There are too many assumptions and "false truths" and traditional voice-in-head messages between them and the possibility of thinking that maybe it's not that big a deal.
At noon he has an interview for a shift supervisory position (I don't know what they call it exactly there). He wrote it on the calendar days ago. We talked about it. He bought new shoes today (Julie and Holly went with him to help, and Holly was glad that he bought the first pair she recommended, and they're just like hers). He will sleep at least six or seven hours before the interview, probably. I can't legitimately fault that, me with my four hours.
It took years of practice, desire and experience to be so accepting of things like this. Kirby will turn 20 this month too, so when I think back to what I was doing at his age, and what his dad was doing, I appreciate the tameness and safety of where he is and who he's with. I have seen and done worse. Many-to-most nineteen year olds are in less safe surroundings at this moment, I'm sure.
There was a guy on one of the morning talk shows the other day saying people don't sleep enough, and not the right way, and they endanger themselves and others, and ruin their health, and all that. When I looked at the clock about 2:10 or so, I remembered that, and started to worry, but then I remembered that worrying and feeling guilty is worse than just getting up and feeling fine about being awake. Some nights I sleep nine or ten hours (now that my kids aren't little anymore). Some nights I don't. I try to appreciate both kinds of nights and feel good about the softness of the bed, the coolness of the night, the quietness of the neighborhood (very still tonight), and the knowledge that I know where my husband and my children are, and they're all safe and enjoying their own moments.