When I was 14 I was invited to a party. The party was going to be at Ann’s house, and while Ann didn’t invite me, Suzanne, who apparently had the authority to invite people to Ann’s house did. I was thrilled. There had been a number of parties involving my junior high classmates, but never was I invited. This was the very first boy-girl party that I could attend. Or so I thought.
When I excitedly asked my mother if I could attend Ann’s party, her first response was to say “Yes, if her parents will be there.” Well, my mom knew Ann’s mom, so I figured that wouldn’t be a problem. My mom picked up the phone, called Ann’s mom, clarified that, indeed, she would be there and that was that. I was going to go to a party.
Well, as they say in the Wild West, “Not so fast hombre.” I am telling you that not 30 minutes had passed when the phone rang, I picked it up and was greeted by a chorus of 14-year-old female voices yelling “You’re not invited to the party.” The message was clear. I wasn’t invited. Suzanne probably didn’t have the authority to invite me and worse still, my mom had called. Horrors. Obviously, I didn’t go to Ann’s party. In fact, when I look back on Junior High, I don’t think I was ever invited to another party (and since I wasn’t really invited, you could say I was never invited to any party). Which was okay. I had some great friends and they weren’t invited either. We weren’t party girls.
With this background, you can probably guess where I am headed with this. Yep, a Middle School party (does anyone go to Junior High anymore?). Now, things have changed since I was 14. Where I received a dubious oral invitation, 14-year-olds now receive printed invitations, explaining where the party will be, what will happen at the party, and a number to which one can text an RSVP. It all looks very official and parentally-sanctioned.
Still, my first reaction was to mimic my mom and say “Yes, if her parents will be there.” But I didn’t and I didn’t pick up the phone. I couldn’t. For suddenly I was 14 again and NO WAY was I going to relive that incident. So, instead I used the time-honored parental dodge of “Sounds good to me, but ask your father.”
The reaction of my husband, who was raised over 2000 miles away, who attended many parties in Junior High and probably hosted a number of them with and without parental supervision at his home and the homes of his friends, proved that parents are parents no matter where or how we grew up. He said, “Yes, if her parents will be there” and picked up the phone book.
Now I, having suddenly morphed back into a 14-year-old, am thinking to myself, “Oh please don’t do that. Don’t call and destroy the party for him…and please let’s not ruin dinner with any outbursts” (that last part is clearly the mom in me, not the 14-year-old).
So, I step up and say, “Hey how about this? When you drop him off, why don’t you just go up to the door with him and introduce yourself to her parents?” Détente. A confrontation was avoided and we all accepted the fact that since we don’t know her parents it would be good manners for my husband to introduce himself to them. The whole issue then became an adult thing, not a teenager thing.
Better yet, we set a precedent for knowing where our sons will be, and with whom, that I think will serve us quite well in the coming years. They know that we are going to check up on all parties – social and otherwise.
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