Helicopter parents want to ground kids

For the past year, our social life has embodied the excitement of toothpaste.

Different work schedules, rotating work schedules, his evening work hours, my morning work hours, and out-of-town hours have meant that we are frequently ships passing in the night. Or in the kitchen. Or, worst of all, in the garage. Door up. Door down. See you soon. Did you pay the credit card?

And then it happened. My schedule lightened and the husband’s days off moved to Thursday and Friday. Our Thursdays and Fridays are now other people’s Saturdays and Sundays. It was confusing at first; we considered hanging a big flip sign by the front door saying, “Today is Monday.” All I knew for certain was that if we wanted to go to worship services together, being that our Sunday was now on Friday, we’d be evangelical Christians attending evening temple.

After a two-week adjustment, it began working for us. His Fridays off meant that the two of us could actually get somewhere at the same time, possibly even in the same vehicle. We booked five consecutive Friday nights like the rejuvenated socialites emerging from a forced hibernation.

The first week we had dinner with three other couples. It was wonderful, but somewhat jarring. We all sat at a table instead of standing at a counter. I may have said, “Pass the Cheerios,” before I realized we were having real food. Hot food. There was conversation. You said something and it wasn’t Pat Sajak answering.

Last Friday we met friends for dinner and then went to see a high school play their daughter had worked on. The play was fabulous. We drove home recounting the high points.

We walked in the house and the light on the landline was flashing, signaling that we had messages. The husband’s cell phone started ringing. I pulled my phone out of my coat pocket, took it off mute and saw a lengthy string of text messages. They all said the same thing: Where are you? Are you OK? Nobody knows where either of you are.

When our son in Chicago called earlier that evening and we didn’t answer, he called his oldest sister. She didn’t know where we were so she called their younger sister. Then the three of them had a wild Friday night leaving messages, sending texts, and speculating what might have happened to us.

“What’s the matter with you people?” I texted. “I told at least one of you we were going out.”

“I must have forgotten,” came the answer.

“That’s not my fault,” I responded.

“It is too your fault. It’s your fault because YOU NEVER GO ANYWHERE!”

They have seven small children between the three of them, but they found time to stalk their parents. Talk about people that need to get out a little more.

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