Gimme a Call

Gimme a Call - No, Seriously, If You Know What's Good For Ya, Kid - CALL ME!! #funny @SoThenStories

So then…my high school freshman Tucker excitedly hops on the bus with his bassoon.

He smiles broadly, joining the rest of the school’s concert band on their way to the airport.

It’s his first time taking a trip on his own without our family.

They’re flying from L.A. for a week in NEW YORK CITY!

He’s thrilled!

I’m terrified!

As he takes his seat on the bus, I throw myself to the ground, writhing and moaning – clutching rosary beads and amulets to my chest — chanting spells, praying invocations – waving my talisman and lucky charms in the air – begging the gods to watch over my first-born as he zips 3000 miles away.

Or at least that’s how it feels.

I console myself with the knowledge that today’s amazing technology allows me to stay in constant touch with the fruit of my womb.

He never goes anywhere without his cell phone — so I’ll just call him to ensure he’s OK, having fun, and remembering to wear underwear.

The transcript from our calls:

Day 1:
Me: Hi honey! How are—
T, whispering: Can’t talk – we’re entering Lincoln Center for a class.

Day 2:
Me: Hey, how—
T, whispering: We’re just about to go into the Broadway show.

Day 3:
Me: How’s it go—
T, whispering: We’re eating dinner, then we’re performing. Gotta go.


So I haul my ass over to the computer, study their itinerary backwards and forwards, and plan my phone call for EXACTLY the perfect time:

Day 4:
Me: Hello! How are—
T, whispering: Can’t talk. We’re on the bus.
Me: I KNOW you’re on the bus! That’s why I called you right now!
You’re IN BETWEEN activities! So we can talk now!
T, whispering: But we’re on the bus. Doing…bus things. I can’t talk NOW.

Bus things? What are bus things?

I’m starting to think my kid’s avoiding me.

Is he interviewing new families on the East Coast? Is he enrolling in school out there?

Will I EVER get my baby back?


Now to be fair, he does occasionally text.

I’ll text something like “Are you having fun?”
And he’ll text “Yeah!”
Then I’ll text “What are you guys doing today?”
And he’ll text “Stuff!”

Maybe he’s been kidnapped. And his captors don’t speak English well. So they can only text one word answers.

I consider texting, “Have you been kidnapped?”
But he’d just text back “Nah” — (and that’s EXACTLY what kidnappers would say!)

I’m about to speed dial a private eye, psychic, and a witch doctor, but then I realize Tucker’s probably just having such a blast, he doesn’t have the time or inclination for chitter-chatter.

But I’m also wondering if it’s a BOY thing. Because when my daughter goes on a trip, she can’t wait to tell me every detail – even if I have to insult a neighbor to hear it!

Finally the day of pick-up arrives!

As families mill about the school parking lot waiting for the airport shuttle, David (Tucker’s dad) asks other parents if their kids stayed in touch during the trip.

The parents laugh and start complaining about the same lack of communication.

One dad says, “My kid was gone a whole week. I only got two calls – and one of those was a BUTT-DIAL!”

— Darcy Perdu

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(So is this a BOY thing? Or a TEEN thing? Or a I’m-Having-Too-Much-Fun-Quit-BUGGIN’-Me-Mom thing?)

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39 replies on “Gimme a Call

  1. I am an adult (well, according to my age anyway–44!) and during a trip to Scotland last summer I got the following text from my sister: “Dad’s freaking out because he hasn’t heard from you. Send proof of life.” I had called my parents when I arrived, and called them again once I met up with the tour group I was joining. (And, if he’d ever check Facebook he would have seen that I was posting pictures from my trip!) Admittedly, if I were traveling totally by myself, I could understand why it’s important to check in frequently–but if you’re with a group, and someone would notice if you just disappeared and call your emergency contact, it’s not QUITE as important.

    • “Proof of life” — HA! I love that!
      Yes, I wanted proof of life too! Doesn’t matter that he was in a group — I wanted to duct tape a baby monitor to his head so I could hear everything that was happening! And a video cam! Aw, who’m I kidding? I wanted to go WITH him!

      But I resisted. This li’l helicopter mama stayed at home and let that boy spread his wings! Good for both of us! :)

  2. Margot said:

    I have an 8th grade son (and a daughter the same age as yours). This is the age where they have to pretend that they don’t have parents, for some reason. It’s texting only and certainly NO hugging in school parking lots. My son had an overdue book from his school library, which I asked him to return at least every other day. Finally last week I told him that if he didn’t return the book that day, I was going to accompany him to school the next day and we were going to hold hands and walk to the library together. He looked absolutely horrified and he returned it that day. Ha! It’s just when they’re around their peers, though. At home he holds hands with his sister (it’s a little strange, I know, but they’re best friends), and loves it when I scratch his back.

    • Margot, that’s brilliant! I love your strategy for making him return the book or you’d hold hands with him to the library! HA!
      “He looked absolutely terrified” – I bet he did! That’s hilarious!

      • Betty said:

        When my son was a freshman in high school he treated me very disrespectfully at his freshman orientation. Even the principal said, “Wow!” When we got home I told him if he ever treated me that way again I’d grab him by the ears, kiss him on the lips and call him Sprout (his dad’s nickname for him) in front of all his friends! It never happened again.

        • Brilliant! Threaten big slobbery kisses in public – much more effective than grounding! :)

  3. It’s a guy thing. We speak in as efficient a way as possible.

    “Do you love me?”

    “Um, yeah.”

    “What does um mean?”

    “Damn! Said that out loud!”
    William Kendall recently posted..Snowdrifts And ShadowMy Profile

    • Ha! The other favorite male response to “Do you love me?” is “I’m here, aren’t I?” Face palm.

      • Judy P said:

        Hubby does that one with me and I always counter with “only cuz you’re too lazy to leave, that proves nothing!”

      • Ellen Anderson said:

        There is also the popular, “What do you think?”

  4. Dana said:

    It might also be a “It’s not really cool to be seen talking to mommy or daddy.” type thing.

    • You’re probably right! Li’l dude wanted to pretend he was independent, devil-may-care gadabout-town!
      “Parents? We don’t need no stinkin’ parents!” Ha!

  5. This brings back fond memories of junior and senior year drama club trips to NYC. It was the 80s, so no calls home at all. How did our parents deal with that? I’d have been nervous. And despite the presence of chaperones, we managed to have a pretty raucous time. But I shouldn’t be telling you that, should I? ;) I only have boys, but I can vouch for the fact that it’s like pulling teeth to get anything out of them. “C’mon, boys! Give mama the deets!”

    • Our parents must have been very brave — or just oblivious — to let us do all the stuff we did, right?
      And you’re so right about boys! Even when they’re adults. Pulling teeth to get any details!

  6. Julie said:

    My money is on “boy thing”. When mine got home from the weekend at their dads I would ask how it was. My boy would grunt “ok” or “fine” my girl would give me a blow by blow. “We left and down by the corner there were 3 cats in that yard, then when….” You get the idea.

    • Ha! “there were 3 cats in that yard…” That is SO much like me son and daughter! Chloe will tell me EVERY detail of EVERYTHING! So funny! I love it, of course!

      • Julie said:

        I would never have survived any these trips that have been mentioned in the comments. Are you kidding me? Paris? New York? Nope.

        • Right? I really had to pull my big girl panties on to be able to handle when Tucker went to New York with the high school band as a freshman. And now my sophomore Chloe’s off to Seattle with the high school film group. I’m just over here in the corner, rocking back and forth, mumbling prayers to myself! Ha!

          • Julie said:

            At least you will get reports from Chloe! My answer would be “no, sorry, we are too poor for you to go”

  7. my other half complains I do this to him all the time, but in this case he’s at home while I’m at work all day and then gets pissy if I don’t text him at least twice. I’m busy! (I’m totally not busy I just forgot)
    Pinknoam recently posted..The Aca-Awesome Weekend!My Profile

  8. Paul said:

    Hmmm. That actually didn’t bother me when our son wouldn’t elaborate – I figured that at that age (14 or so) I really did not want to know the details and it wasn’t for lack of caring, it was knowing that I didn’t want to know. God takes special care of children – I know ’cause I used to be one. I rely on that. Ha! At 14 I went with a school trip to Paris. I’d elaborate but I don’t want you chewing your fingernails Darcy.

    I’m sure he will be (or was -not sure if you are writing present or past events)just fine. At that age they have a whole lot more common sense than we give them credit for because we’ve never seen them use it.

    • Ha, ha, Paul! “They have a whole lot more common sense than we give them credit for because we’ve never seen them use it.”
      SO TRUE! I’m STILL waiting! :)

  9. My daughter once went with her band to Paris, France to march in a parade. As we were waiting at the gate (yes, this dates me — it was back when anyone could go to the gate), one of the parents suggested we have a prayer. That sounded nice, until he started praying about bathing our children in the blood of Christ and forgiving them for their sins. I was a nervous wreck until I heard that the plane had landed safely.

    • Oh, you poor mama, that must have been unsettling! So funny though! We Catholics are the same way, chattin’ about the blood of Christ like it’s no biggie. In fact I only recently realized that one of my favorite childhood songs that I’d belt out enthusiastically might be a little disturbing to others: “Sons of God, hear our holy word, gather round the table of the Lord. Eat his body; drink his blood; now we’ll sing a song of love. Allelu Allelu Allelu Allelu-ujah!” Yikes! Sounds a bit cannibalistic now!

    • Rena, your comment reminds me of the psychology study done back in the 1980s on school playgrounds. The report said that the boys were all playing sports and games — while all the girls did was “sit around and talk.” So they figured that the boys were learning so much more – leadership, team cooperation, dexterity, etc. But they found out that the girls were learning FAR more sophisticated things about interpersonal relationships, communications, hierarchy, social interaction, empathy, assertiveness, listening skills, and so on. So maybe all that sitting around and talking helps us girls be more communicative with our parents too? All I know is that I want my son and daughter to call me 800 times a day, even when they’re adults, even when I live in their basement! :)

  10. AinOakPark said:

    Well, I am one of those mothers who cheerlead along the way, saying things like, “You can do it!” “Sure! Give it a try!” “Go! Yes! It will be an adventure!”

    My philosophy is that no news is good news because BAD NEWS ARRIVES FASTER THAN YOU WANT TO HEAR IT.

    So, really, that clears away a lot of the worry. When one child went away to play in a sports tournament, the team father providing the ride and chaperone duties announced that he’d have her call when they left in the morning, when they got there, every night they were gone, and when they started back home. I told him, no, really, don’t. I told him how fast bad news travels and that I don’t worry.

    Works for me.

    On the other hand (why does there have to be an “other hand”?) I also believe that a parent is only as happy as their least happy child. Once, when the girls were going through more than a bit of drama/crisis/uncertainty, the younger one walked by and said, “You know that bit about being only as happy as your least happy child? — Well it sucks to be you.” (I may have told you that before. I’m like that. If I’m like that now, what will I be like when I am (even) older?)

    • “sucks to be you” — HA!! Your youngest is very wise!
      And that’s a good point about too many calls — sometimes no news really IS good news! I’ll cling to that!

  11. Parents worry about children no matter how old said children are, mine are all adults but still I worry about them when they are travelling
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    • Wait – WHAT?
      I thought all this parenting nonsense stopped as soon as they turned 18.
      AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH! *smacks head on desk
      (actually wouldn’t that be great if we suddenly stopped worrying when they turn 18? But I know I’ll be worrying about mine even when they’re 83! And YES – I DO plan to live that long!) :)

  12. OMG, it’s not just my kid? She never called to tell me she was okay, when she was away on youth group trips … not even to say goodnight … not the one week trip to California or the 5-day trips to Orlando. Weeks away at camp in New York or Canada? Bupkas (that’s Yiddish for “nothing”)! Three trips to Eastern Europe? Not even a postcard. All I can say is may they know this anguish themselves one day and be blown off by THEIR kids!
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    • HA! Yes, their kids will be the same and THEN they’ll see the torture we endured!
      I know I’m supposed to let them become more independent — but yowza, it’s challenging!

  13. Just a bit of advice from a band mom with a senior and a freshman. Make friends with the band director and other band parents who are chaperoning these trips. Text THEM. You’ll get more info from THEM than you EVER will from your own child. I guarantee this.
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    • That is GREAT advice!!
      In fact, one of the chaperones texted me a photo of my kid. Hooray! Proof of life!

  14. Alex said:

    I have the opposite problem LOL. I can’t get them to leave me alone when they’re away! I did hint that they (two teenage sisters, both away at the same event for about a week) should try to ‘enjoy the experience while it is happening and only phone if there is an emergency’. Too subtle? Yep. But on the other hand I’d rather hear every four hours what a great time they are having than have a complete radio silence.

    • That’s pretty awesome that they want to share their experiences with you! So cool!