My college sophomore was home for winter break, “Mom is it okay if I go to a party Thursday night?”
“Sure” I answer.
“Cool. I should be back around 10, Friday morning.”
“Wait? What are you talking about?”
“Oh, the party is in Sonoma (an hour away) so we are all gonna spend the night.”
“Whose party is this?” I ask.
“A guy from high school.” He answers. “He was the year behind me. Greg wants me to go with him because he doesn’t really know anyone.”
“Wait. Greg doesn’t know anyone, and you aren’t going to know anyone. Are the parents going to be there?”
“I don’t think so.”
“Lucas, this doesn’t sound like a good idea. A bunch of kids driving all the way up to an empty house in Sonoma, with no parents. It sounds like a lot of illegal and unwise behavior is going to occur.”
“What do you mean? I’m twenty!”
“Yes. Like I said, illegal behavior. Plus your girlfriend back East isn’t going to want you to go.”
“She won’t care.” He says.
“She will when I tell her there were strippers there.”
“There aren’t going to be….Wait, you would say that, wouldn’t you.”
I shrug. “Lucas a bunch of kids, out in the middle of nowhere, with no parents, planning to spend the night. It is a recipe for bad decisions.”
“What about if we come home Thursday night?” he asks.
“That could be better.” I offer.
A few minutes later after some frantic texting, “Greg says he’s spending the night. So I can’t go.”
“Okay.” I say.
The next morning Lucas agrees to cycle with me and help in his brother’s kindergarten class. I’m feeling the love. “So mom,” he says, “Have you given any more thought to letting me go to this party?”
“Yes. I still think it is a bad idea. The fact that you won’t know anyone even furthers my concern that you could be in a situation where you feel uncomfortable, and not be able to leave.”
“Well, I have some more information.” He starts to list the people who will be there that I know. He then tells me that the parents will be there and it will be a traditional Christmas party with food and games (and alcohol). He shows me the Facebook invitation, giving me more information about the tone of the party.
I’m actually pretty surprised that he’s giving me the hard sell. I had thought he didn’t really want to go when he had so calmly accepted my “no” from yesterday. What I hadn’t realized was not only had my “no” made the party more desirable to him, but I was now receiving so much more unsolicited knowledge about the event.
He made a good argument, and I felt better about the party. Seeing the guest list was encouraging to me because it would give him options to leave should he desire. I told him he could go.
And then the texting continued. And then this friend wasn’t going. And then the party wasn’t going to happen. And then. And then.
But he kept me in the loop. He saw my concerns as valid and he met them. He recognized that I wasn’t trying to keep him from having fun, but wanted him to think it through. He decided not to go to the party. He was growing up.