Or, the iPod at the Bottom of Lake Union
“Well, the cops finally brought my kid home,” my friend told me the other afternoon when we ran into each other in the book room at Granny’s.
“Ah,” I replied, putting an arm around her shoulder, “You are no longer a ‘having the cops bring your kid home’ virgin.”
A mother of young children who was standing nearby overheard this exchange and glanced at us with a startled expression. She said, “Something I have to look forward to, I suppose.”
Not if you are fortunate. Perhaps. There is a large club of parents who get phone calls they never wanted to get.
In this instance the (adult) child in question had not committed a crime. She had not shoplifted, or taken a car joyriding, or wrecked a car she’d taken joyriding, or wrecked her own car. Please do not ask why I am familiar with reasons why the cops might bring your kid home, or ask you to come bring the kid home.
My friend’s daughter was in a boat that submerged in Lake Union. “The boat didn't sink,” her mom explained, “it submerged. It is a Port-a-boat® and will not sink due to flotation around the gunwales.” The Port-a-boat® belonged to Mom, and was powered by a two-horse motor she had purchased for the boat the day before. Daughter was under way with her mother’s blessing and a few friends and relations.
“I was going this way, Mom,” her daughter said, pointing straight ahead, “and then I was going this way,” pointing down.
Daughter did have the presence of mind to turn off the motor when she saw what was happening.
It was a maiden voyage for the boat and the motor. Daughter and friends had piled in without stopping to spread the ballast evenly throughout the boat, and the bow was a little low. They were putting along at a strolling pace when the bow began shipping water, and pretty soon, it was under water, and right after that everyone and everything in the boat was in the water. Daughter had insisted that everyone wear life vests, so they floated, but there was a tragic loss of iPod and cell phone. Oh, the humanity.
“It was a case of mis-loading and not sitting in the right places,” Mom said.
Given that everyone was safe, not drowned, and escorted safely home by Seattle’s finest, Mom was concerned with the fate of her boat and motor. The boat, once pulled out of the water, was fine. The motor, not so much.
So she took the motor to her boat engine guy, and he took it apart and cleaned it and oiled it and put it back together, good as new or nearly. Then it slipped out of his hands and cracked its casing on the floor.
“God does not want me to have a two-horse motor,” my friend mourned.
I commiserated with my friend on this whole turn of events. It turned out pretty well, considering. Daughter did show presence of mind, the passengers were fine, the boat was fine, and the motor dealership had a supply of casings on hand because apparently dropping and breaking them is a common occurrence.
You’ve heard it before and I’ll say it again: being a parent never ends. They grow up and you’re still praying for their safety and well-being, and sometimes things happen that are not at all what you planned or expected. In fact, most of what happens falls in the unplanned and unexpected categories.
As for having your kids brought home by the cops, or getting that phone call telling you to come pick up your kid – well, if you are fortunate, that will never happen to you.
If you are not so fortunate, you will have to adjust your expectations and understanding of what raising children and being a parent can be. We are united in sympathy and understanding, so if you get that call, remember – you’re not the first, you won’t be the last, and there are a lot of people who understand exactly how you feel.