Teenagers need you now more than ever

Last weekend I got a call from my high school senior, “Mom, I’m going to do some homework and then is it ok if I and some guys go over to James’ house to spend the night?”

“Who’s James?”  I asked, “Do I know him?”

“Yeah, he was on my football team, freshman and sophomore year.”

“That doesn’t help me Max.  I don’t know who this person is.  Why don’t you give me his parents phone number and I can give them a call.”

“WHAT? Mom, please.  I’m not twelve.”

“Sadly, you were safer when you were twelve.”

“Why don’t you trust me?  I can’t believe you!”

“Max, I do trust you.  I’m not saying, ‘No.’  I’m saying if someone is planning to feed and house you, I need to know who they are.  What city you are in.”

“So if I give you the number I can go?’

“Well, that depends.  If she starts talking about a rifle range and x-rated movies, probably not.” (This is said in an accent.  I don’t think he appreciates the humor.)

“Fine.  I’ll get you the number.”

Max quickly texts me the number and I get ahold of James’ mom.  She is super understanding about me wanting to confirm that it is ok for Max to come over.  But then she says, “You know, my husband is on a business trip and I won’t be home.”

“What?” I said, “But you will be back tonight?”

“No.  But they are all good boys.  And my mom and her caregiver will be here.”

“Oh, ok.”

“Well, my mom has Alzheimer’s, so James knows not to have too many people over.”

This was not overly reassuring to me.  I thanked James mom for indulging me and called Max.  “Max, I talked to James’ mom.  She tells me that neither she nor her husband are going to be home.”

“Forget it then.”

“Max, I’m not saying ‘no.’ “

“No, mom. I don’t want to go if the parents aren’t there.  I know James doesn’t drink, but I don’t know about the other guys.  I have made football my priority and I don’t want to mess that up.”

As captain of the football team, Max had to sign a pledge that if he got caught drinking, he would be kicked off the team.  Not suspended for a couple of games, kicked off.  “Wow Max, I am so impressed you are making this decision.  Aren’t you glad that I called and found this information out?”

“Yeah, I’m just gonna stay home.  I’m tired anyway.”

I didn’t expect a hearty “thank you” but I know Max was grateful; so was I.