I gotta come clean about a few things.
For one thing, about my lameness the night of Holly’s homecoming dance.
“Haha, Mom, I know you’re on the couch sleeping through a Hallmark movie.” Yeah, that’s pretty much what happened.
“Mom, wake up and come get us!” Holly said, the second time she left a voicemail. She called again a minute later, and the minute after that. Finally, she tried our house phone and left a teeth-chattering, chorus-of-giggling-girls plea for a ride home. OMG! What kind of helicopter mom am I?
I’d made sure my cellphone was right beside me, but never heard it ring over the television. Darn. I should have kept it on vibrate, and in my pocket. At least Holly and her friends weren’t the last ones standing on the sidewalk.
To top it all off, by the time we got to Dairy Queen for our annual post-homecoming cones, the lights were off. Ack! What is up with that? DQ was closed before 11 p.m. on homecoming weekend? Perhaps previous homecoming weekends happened earlier in the school year, in September? When DQ’s hours are different? Yeah, that must be it. In any case, our sweet streak was at stake, and so we carried on. Wendy’s came through in a pinch. Frostys for everyone, in spite of the goosebumps. All’s well that ends well. Right?
“Lactic acid is hostile to bacteria,” Noah said recently, as he added pancake mix to expired buttermilk whilst sharing newly acquired wisdom picked up in his nutrition class at Aurora University, “so maybe it’ll be OK.” He glanced my way. Because, of course, I’m MOM, one supposedly in possession of such answers. I shrugged. Noah’s way ahead of me. I had nothing, except this column to finish.
“I really hope I don’t get sick,” he said. “It’ll happen when I’m in class.” Yikes.
“Maybe make one teeny-weeny one and see what happens?” I suggested. He’s 19. Were I to issue a seriously stern mom-warning about the perils of putrid pancakes, he’d likely dig in his heels and carry on. He carried on anyway, producing pancakes big as dinner plates. (Go big or go home, right?) My more strategic attempt to dissuade him didn’t work either. “The ‘Stranger Things’ in your stomach might come spewing out,” I said, grinning. “It can be like a science experiment.”
I wonder if he’ll get extra credit? Not me, though. The fridge looks like a science experiment, hence the expired buttermilk. I’m more likely to be forced to turn in my Helicopter-Mom card.
“Hey, can you let him in?” I asked a few minutes later, as Noah puttered around the kitchen. “He’s eating bunny poop.” I couldn’t see the Big Red Dog from my seat near the window, but knew he was out there somewhere living it up compliments of Lupita Rose Ketchamar, the neighborhood bunny who apparently adopted us. She loves weeds, so I love her. (I asked Holly where ‘Ketchamar’ came from. “It’s her last name, duh,” she said, but I digress. I knocked on the window to interrupt his snack.
“Where’s Jake?” Noah said, peering out the window. Hearing his name, he began his descent down the stairs inside of the house sporting his signature dopey I-was-just-taking-a-dog-nap face. “Come on, Mom, you’re knockin’ on the window, saying he’s eating bunny poop, making up all this $%*#, and he’s upstairs.” I laughed so hard I, well, yeah. Anyway, I’m still not sure how that dog got back in. Whatever. He seems none the worse for wear – nor is his boy.
“I felt fine,” Noah said several hours later as he leaned in for a hug. Lucky for me, my old “all’s well as long as everyone has a heartbeat at the end of the day” mantra seems to be holding up. But just in case, for the next homecoming dance maybe I’ll drop the kids off, stick around, and, yeah, sleep in my car with a good book. Yup, that’s just what I’ll do.
Jennifer DuBose lives in Batavia with her family. Her column runs regularly in the Kane Weekend section of the Kane County Chronicle. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.