When I was in highschool I'm not sure my parents would have been considered cool by some people. They didn't believe in the adage that "If you're going to drink, I'd rather you do it under my roof", I wasn't allowed to go to parties where parents weren't present and they insisted on meeting all of the boys I dated before I was allowed in to ride in the car with them. I was expected to get good grades, to let them know where I was at all times and although I never had a formal curfew I was expected to be home at a decent hour.
Still though, looking back, I'm pretty sure I had the cool parents. Heck, for the most part I even thought so then.
Somehow in the midst of kids who had completely absent (or stupid) parents who let them drink and didn't really care what they did and kids whose parents were so strict they were either sneaking out to get drunk or a complete goody goody looking to go nuts in college, my parents just had a great balance. It was part trust, part respect and part knowing that if I was honest with them everything would be ok.
Case in point: When I was a senior in highschool two of my friends and I went to a party downtown. It was supposed to be some sort of concert or something. The details are unclear. However once we arrived it was obvious that it was just a bunch of people doing drugs, drinking lots of hard liquor and rubbing all over each other. I hate to be touched, and I think we actually saw blood and needles. Ick. Needless to say I wanted to leave, like quick fast and in a hurry. One of my friends felt the same way. Unfortunately, the friend who drove wanted to stay.
After calling our quasi boyfriends who refused to leave whatever circle jerk they were at I just said forget this. It's cold. It's creepy. I don't feel safe. Damn it I want my mommy and I don't care who knows it. And I picked up my cell phone and called my parents. My friend didn't want me to. She ddn't want me to be in trouble, but at that point I didn't care. I wanted out of there and I knew they'd come get us. I'm not sure what they expected to hear when they answered the phone but I'm sure it's not fun to be woken out of a dead sleep to hear your eighteen year old daughter explaining that she is stuck at a party with drugs and alcohol and can you please come get my friend and me? I remember thinking I would be in so much trouble for putting myself in that kind of a situation to begin with. I anticipated one of my father's looooong lectures that ended in his being awarded the Mr. Hustle trophy in High School. Oh well, at least we would be out of there. I paced nervously while we waited what must have been the longest forty-five minutes for them to arrive.
Instead when my parents Yukon arrived (like a damn oasis in the dessert) they were cool as cucumbers. They collected the two of us, turned on the heat and asked if we were hungry (this was about 11:30 pm). Twenty minutes later we were munching on Chicken McNuggets and french fries on our way to drop my friend off at her parents house.
We've spoken of this night many times since then, but I've never caught hell over it. The anticipated lecture was never received. I wasn't banished to my room or grounded. Instead I was hugged, kissed and left to finish my nuggets in peace while they went back to sleep.
It's only since having a kid that I've come to realize what made my parents cool. They didn't just talk the talk but they walked the walk as parents. They gave their all to my brother and me, ensuring we always knew we were safe, loved and could trust them.
It was that they cared enough about us to ensure that our safety was always their number one priority. It was why they were willing to host a co-ed slumber party after prom (alcohol free and yes boys and girls slept in separate rooms) and why they offered up their grill and pool (not to mention plenty of snacks) so twenty or so teenagers who didn't feel like sneaking off to drink beer with creepy thirty year olds would have something else fun and safe to do. They were the ones who said, "Sure. It's Saturday night and maybe we are tired from working all week, but bring on the fun. Let's get involved in our kid's lives."
I sincerely hope I am that kind of a cool mom for Evie. Not the kind that says give my your keys and you can drink under my roof, but the kind that says I am your mother, you can tell me anything, call me anytime and I will never love you less and will always be here. I want to be that kind of parent who is deeply involved in her kid's life.
Thanks Momma & Daddy for being that kind of cool.