Thursday, October 12, 2006

Carl's Story 7: The Party

He was in a play and he wanted to go to the party after the Friday evening performance. Everyone was going. The parents weren't going to be there, but everyone was going to go.

We were perfect. We were calm, sympathetic and firm. I told the social worker they should have had a video camera in our kitchen to use in future trainings. We listened without interrupting. In the end I was confident that he knew we loved him, but that he simply could not go to the party.

I left the conversation feeling pleased with how wonderful a parent I was.

He went to the party anyway.

We paced, and cursed, and watched the clock.

At 11:00 someone called to say that Carl wanted to know if he could spend the night at the house where the party was. Hubby whispered, "What should I say?" "Say yes! Then ask for the phone number and address!"

Hubby wrote done the information and I got out the map. We could not find the street. I called the police and asked them if they could tell me where it was. "Why are you calling us?" "Well, I figure you have to know where all the addresses are because sometimes people call you about crimes." "Why do you need to know this address?" "My seventeen year old is at a party there and I think he's drunk. I want to go get him." "Oh..let me get our map."

The police beat us to the house by a couple of minutes. It was fortunate because there were no street lamps and we could not see the house numbers. We were able to identify the house only because of the teenagers streaming out of doors and running for cars.

The police were just driving away as we walked up to the door. The young man who lived there along with two young women answered the door. "I've come to take Carl home."

"Oh. He left a while a go with a couple of girls."


"I don't know."

"You're sure he isn't here?"

"Oh no. He left."

"Tell me who he went with."

"I really don't know."

Now I can be terrifying sometimes. Totally calm, voice slow and quiet but with a little bit of a tremble. I took a step towards the boy, looked him straight in the eye and said, "Well you had better sit down and start writing down the names, adddresses and phone numbers of every single kid who was here, because if Carl is not home by midnight I am calling the police." (Kid begins to smirk.) "And Carl is a ward of the state, which makes things different. They care if he is not home. So the police will come here and stand over you until you give them that list. Then they will wake up every one of the parents until they find him. So if I were you, I would find him and get him home in the next 25 minutes."

I left that cocky young man with wide eyes in a pale face.

Two girls helped a barely conscious Carl into the house at 12:02.

We put him in bed and I told him to take out his contacts, "The hell I will!" (Really, that's not the sort of thing he normally said). I told him to hold still and I took them out for him. He swung up an arm and I got his hand before it reached my face. "I wasn't going to hit you. I would never hurt you! I wanted to tell you that I love you. You're my real parents. I would never hurt you." I looked at Hubby who said, "He is really, really drunk."

We left. I checked on him when I woke up. There was vomit in the bed.

He came out to the kitchen later and said he wanted to tell us what happened. He told us the story (everything fit with the events as we understood them). I said, "You left out the part where the police raided the party." "You knew about that?" "I called them."

He told us that he felt miserable and that there was no way he could go to the matinee performance. "How long am I grounded for?" "I don't know...but you're going the matinee. Get dressed."

I snuck in to watch the last twenty minutes of the play. He was sitting in a chair while the others tried to act around him, yelling (in character) at him to get up and say something.

Hubby and I talked about it. We told him that he was not grounded, that we thought the natural consequences of this were going to be enough. "What do you mean?"

"Well, you had to do the play and you have to go again tonight."


"And we will be reporting what happened to the drama teacher and to the parents of the kid who threw the party."

"You wouldn't!"

Later that week we got a call from someone who sounded awfully young who said, "I hear you wanted to talk to me about my son?" Hubby played along and then I mailed the father a letter, including the part about the suspicious phone call.

The kid who threw the party was grounded for two months, and Carl wasn't very popular with the drinking crowd any more.

Part 8


  1. Anonymous5:40 PM

    Wow, you're good.

  2. When I grow up, I want to be as good a mommy as you. Did you get that that encounter on video for the agency?

  3. Nice going. I don't know if I would have handled it that well.

  4. My god, do you know my parents? While I was the perfect child, hmm hmm, my brother came home very drunk when he was 15. My mother helped him calmly and quietly into his water bed, then proceeded to bounce it until he was sick, rinse and repeat.

    my parents knew everyone in town and I had several relatives on the police force so there was no way to get away with anything.

    I loved this story.


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