One thing my children absolutely hate is being compared to each other or with their mates. And I try not to. But sometimes you wonder how children born of the same parents, raised following the same rules can be this different.
When Yaya wants to go for a movie, the preparation starts a week in advance. First, her friends will vote which movie they want to watch, followed by whose house they will be going to before and after the movie, followed by getting my permission and if the movie ends after 5.30 pm, ensuring that I will be able to pick her up from the theatre.
So when she tells me on Monday ” Mom, Can I please go for a movie with my friends on Friday?” Without much further thought, I will say “Yes” because I know she plans everything well.
Last Sunday, the house phone rang at 12.30 pm and I knew it will be one of my son’s friends. Mine was still in bed and when I gave him the phone, I heard him speaking very drowsily on the phone “sup dude?” Few seconds of mumbling later, he jumps out of the bed, grab his clothes from the cupboard and while hunting for his wallet asks/tells
“Mom, T just called, apparently his parents can give us a lift to the theatre and may I please go?”
“What time are they going?” I asked
“They are on their way to our house”
“But you haven’t” I was going to say you haven’t brushed your teeth, had breakfast/lunch. haven’t done your homework etc etc and that I hate last minute planning..but I realized the person I was talking to is already in the washroom, frantically brushing his teeth, while hollering ” mom, could you please fill my water bottle, pack a packet of microwave popcorn and make me a cheese sandwich?” ( My children take their own microwave popcorn and use the microwave at seven eleven to save money)
By the time I cut the crust of the bread, his friend had already arrived.
Up on seeing that the sandwich isn’t ready, my son said ” I will eat it when I come back”
“No, you will wait a minute for me to make your sandwich and then you go” I replied.
Grudgingly he waited, holding the grill door wide open, letting in all the mosquitos, spiders, flies etc and every few nano seconds asking “is it ready?”
“What time will you get back home?” I asked as I gave him the sandwich.
“I will txt you, bye mom, thanks for the sandwich” all in one sentence and he left.
From the time the phone rang to the time he left, it took less than 7 minutes. This is the same child, I have to threaten with dire consequences to get ready on time when we have to go somewhere.
Sunday being my day off, I spend the rest of the day reading the latest Jeffrey Archer’s latest book, Best Kept Secret. I expected him to be back home before 5, like Yaya does or if he was going to be late, make arrangements to be picked up. Come 5 o’clock, no sign of my son. No text either. I turned off the phone and turned it back on, just in case there was some network error that prevented me from getting his text. I waited until 6, still no news from him. I tried calling his hand phone, it was switched off. I looked outside, it was already pitch black and raining heavy. Panic began to rise slowly from my belly. Sure, I knew he is with his friend, but I am his mother and getting worked up on his behalf is my “right” ( for want of better terms).
6.40, I called his friend’s father and he laughed and told me ” welcome to raising boys, they can’t multi task, Neither your son, nor my son knows to think that if you go for a movie, you need to watch the one that ends at 5 pm, so you could get back home before sun down. Don’t worry, we will get a call soon”
True enough, 6.45, my son calls me to let me know that he had switched off the phone before entering the theatre, and now that the movie is over, he was wondering if I could come and fetch them. The mall close at 6 pm, I live 20 minutes drive away from the theatre and I was mad as hell for the way he does things. I thought, he and his friend would be safe taking the bus back home instead of waiting for me to come and pick them up. I didn’t want him to walk alone through the park near home at night, so I asked him to call me as soon as he gets off the bus, so I could pick him up. “Make sure, you stand under the light” I said .” yeah, I know, I am not a baby anymore” he replied. I so very much wanted to tell him, if you think you are not a baby anymore, then you should act your age. But I didn’t, because there is no point in trying to get him to understand that, I am a single mother, I don’t have any family I can lean on and I can’t just drop everything without any notice and drive and pick him up. It isn’t easy running a household on my own with no help from anyone else.
I was so mad at him. As I took a U turn near the bus stop, there he was standing with a huge smile on his face and he hops in to the car and tells me “Mom, you must watch Lone ranger, the movie was awesome, I am so hungry, what is for dinner?”
He didn’t get the stress I went through the past 2 hours and I realized the next time he wants to go for a movie, he and I are going to sort a few things before he leaves home. I will have to get him to understand that he needs to get back home before sun down.