Waiting at the End of the Line

This picture pretty much symbolizes life around here. I couldn't quite bring myself to take down the "Whatever" angel that hangs over the fireplace, so I put the Halloween devils all around her. Whatever!

The place is starting to look more fall-like. The blinking eyeballs and ghost lights are out front. Panises are beginning to overtake the portulacas in the planters. Leaves are falling everywhere and the backyard looks a lot like my hair...wild and frizzy.

I find myself thinking about Dad like he's on vacation. I wonder how things are up there, if he's having a good time and finally...why haven't I heard from him?

I know, I know...he's a big explorer but I figured he'd at least holler back or something by now. Whatever...

It was homecoming weekend at the high school. Once again I made a bazillion corsages, but this time three actually got used! Adam and Ben each had dates and J.P, Adam's best friend, used one of my creations as well...this after his mom, Ellen, arrived to show me the disaster of a corsage she'd ordered from a florist.

She arrived on the doorstep holding a white box. "Look at this," she said.

I peered at the wrist corsage nestled deep in the white shredded paper straw.

"It has little bugs sticking out all over it, and berries. What is that? What do you think?"

Tiny red roses sat amidst bug antenni, black lacy ribbon and red berries.

"I think it looks like Elvira's Christmas," she said.

"It's nice," I said tentatively.

Ellen told J.P afterwards, "We must never trust Nancy again. She lied and said the corsage was nice! She didn't really think so either!"

"Come on," Ellen said to me. "It's hideous!"

Well, it sort of was...unless you were Elvira and it was Christmas.

So we hotglued babies breath to it...lots of babies breath. This resulted in it looking like Elvira's Christmas wrist corsage buried in a white snow-covered bush.

And that's how J.P's date wound up with one of our creations.

Amanda, the Devil Witch, got a pure white one. I tried to stick a few red baby rosebuds in but Adam overruled me. "Mother, it's homecoming not the 4th of July! Her dress is navy blue. She'll look like a flag!"

Damned teenagers.

Ben had a date. I believe this is the first time both boys have attended a school dance with dates...But what a difference! Adam, the Player, and Amanda are old, seasoned hands at this date stuff. The girls all dress at one girl's house. The boys arrive to pick them up, take them to dinner and then drive on to the dance. Mothers are permitted to show up at the one girl's house to take pictures, but must leave promptly and not talk too much.

This last part is difficult for me.

Anyway...Ben wasn't having any of this. "Why do you have to come?" he asked.

"Well, to take pictures."

"I'll have Emma's mom take pictures and Emma'll give them to me and then you can see how we looked."

I waited a long moment, hoping to spare him, but when he failed to realize the obvious, I said, "Well, the other reason I'm coming is because I'm your driver."

"Maybe," he said cryptically.

"My ass!" I answered...definitively.

And so it was that I arrived walking a respectful and required 3 yards behind my son, watching as he navigated the pathway up to the front door, rang the bell and when Emma's hulking father opened the door, looked the man straight in the eye and said, "Hi, I'm Ben," and shook his hand!

Turns out my shy, disorganized child had organized the entire evening, minus the transportation. He picked the restaurant, selected two other couples, added two tag-along boys and was the social facilitator...which seemed to require that they play a game called "Big Booty" while I drove them from the Thai restaurant to the Marriott.

"I love that game!" Emma cried when Ben's hyperactive buddy suggested it.

And she looked like such a shy, sweet little thing, too.

But all the way downtown they chanted "Big booty, big booty, number one, number two!"

It seemed a game where you had to pick on other people to pick up the chant while never losing the rap-like timing, doing it faster and faster until someone lost track and was then "out."

Then they were gone, leaving their sport coats behind as instructed by the principal's earlier phone message. "This is Mr. Gasparello, principal at Grimsley High School," as if we could forget...he only calls every other day to leave long-winded messages that interupt everyone's dinner hour.

"Boys leave your coats and cell phones in your cars. The PTA doesn't have space to check them all."

I drop them off, drive away and am only two blocks down the road when my cell rings.

"Mom, can you come back," Ben says. "Steven left his ticket in his jacket."

I circle around and when Ben meets me I say, "You're supposed to leave your cell in the car."

Ben and Steven roll their eyes. "Good thing he didn't, Mrs. B," Steven says.

"Yeah," Ben adds. "How would I have called you?"

As if they knew all along this situation would occur.

"Whatever!" I said...because really, I'd rather he have the phone and be able to reach me in an emergency.

So when the thing rang again three hours later, I was ready.

"Hey Mom, this is Ben." Like I wouldn't know my own son's voice!

"Steven left his house key in his jacket pocket, so Charles's father's going to bring us by so he can get it, okay?"

By the time they're seniors this will all be old hat. They'll drive themselves to the dances, clean up their own mistakes and barely conceal their glee at being self-sufficient. They will do things that I will only hear about later, years after grounding them to their rooms has become impossible. They will suffer heartbreaks and triumphs, tragedies and adventures and through it all I will be right here...waiting at the other end of the cellphone.

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