Today, I was cleaning my living room when the phone rang. It was my son’s seventh grade counselor. I have been speaking with her about the things that are going on with him, so I assumed that is why she was calling. I answered the phone to have her ask me why my son was not in school today. They had called him to the counseling center and that is how they discovered he wasn’t there.
First Emotion: Shock, Second Emotion: Disbelief, Third Emotion: Fear. I stopped her in mid-sentence and exclaimed that he had left for school at 6:30 this morning and what did she mean he wasn’t there. All sorts of thoughts started running through my mind. There was an accident, he had been kidnapped, he had been jumped. All of these the rational part of me said were bull, the irrational part of me however had complete control in that moment. She told me that she would send someone to his class to see if there had just been a mixup and then call me back.
While I waited for that phone call, I texted everyone that I could think of to try and track down my son. He wasn’t answering my call or my texts. I texted his friends even though I knew that they were actually in school. Finally, I called my niece. Within minutes he texted me. “I’m fine”, “No, I am not telling you where I am”, “I went to a friend’s house”, “No, I’m not telling you who it is”. Who is this entity that has taken over my child? I’m trying to understand, but he won’t talk to me. I remember being 12 and feeling the same way, but, I at least talked. Then again, I didn’t talk to my parents, I talked to my friends. How do I, as his Mother, get his friends to open up to me about what is going on in his life without them feeling like they are ratting him out?
Eventually, I was able to get him to tell me where he was and I went and picked him up. Now, for most parents, their first reaction would be to scream and freak out. I didn’t do that. I spoke quietly, I didn’t raise my voice, I focused the conversation on him. It didn’t matter what I was feeling, I needed to find out how he was feeling. When we got home, we sat down and talked. Our conversation isn’t over, but we have taken a small break to regroup.
I am in unchartered waters and even with all the advice from friends and books and online forums, this is my child. Each child is different, there experiences, while the same, are different from their perspective. I don’t know where this journey is going to take us or how it is going to turn out.