Tuesday, May 26, 2015

The All-Nighter

Memorial Day weekend. Three days off from high school, hardly any homework. Given how tired my teenage daughter is most mornings, you might assume she would take the opportunity to catch up on her sleep.

You would assume wrong.

With the long weekend ahead of them, my daughter and three of her closest friends decided that the best use of their time would be to play all-night laser tag. She approached me with the concept Thursday.

"All-night laser tag? Is that even a thing?" I asked.

"Yes," she assured me, "You can look on the website."

Sure enough, a laser tag facility three towns over was offering a special overnight marathon of laser tagging from 11:30 pm Saturday until 6:00 am Sunday. The cost was $35 in advance or $40 at the door.

It seemed like a ridiculous plan to me. However ...

This was one of the (seemingly countless) times I had to remind myself that my baby was not a baby and was, in fact, seventeen. When I was her age, I pretty much owned New York City. I went where I wanted when I wanted, via bus or subway or simply walking the streets of Manhattan. The year I was seventeen, I went to midnight shows of Rocky Horror at the New Yorker on Broadway and 88th Street every weekend for several straight months. I always felt completely safe.

What worries me these days are the byproducts of raising a child in suburbia. Back in the 70s in NYC, we didn't wonder who would drive. None of us knew how to. But, it was the first thing on my mind when my daughter told me about her plans. Who would drive them all to the laser tag place at 11:30? Who would drive them all home at 6:00? And, what were the contingency plans if one or two of the laser taggers got tired at, say, 3:00 am.

As per usual, she assured me that they had it all planned.

As per usual, the plans changed at the eleventh hour.

So, there I was, at 10:30 pm (which, I'm not ashamed to confess, is past my usual bedtime), picking up one tagger then driving two of the taggers to meet up with the other two at one of the second group's father's house from where they would all drive together. (And if that sounds unnecessarily complicated, welcome to my world. My husband — wisely— had already gone to bed.)

I insisted on a handful of spur-of-the-moment rules. She had to be careful. She had to text me updates throughout the night (not that I would deliberately stay awake for them, but just knowing she was checking in would relieve my anxiety a bit). She had to be CAREFUL. She had to stay with her friends (having never played laser tag myself, I had no idea whether this was a reasonable request or not). SHE HAD TO BE CAREFUL. And, she had to be home by 7:00 am at the latest.

She happily agreed to all of the above.

Surprisingly, I slept well. Either I'm learning to let go a little, or I was simply super tired myself. At 6:00 am, I went downstairs to feed our new puppy (whose shenanigans warrant a blog all their own). Sure enough, my phone had received a string of texts and some selfies. It sounded like the overnight had been a great success.

One final message explained that she would be a few minutes late getting home because they were stopping at McDonald's.

Just tell me you're not having a McFlurry for breakfast, I texted back.

Um, was her response.

She may be seventeen, but she's still my baby. And, she has the appetite and palate to prove it.

If you enjoyed this post, I invite you to order a copy of my book  Lovin' the Alien at www.lovinthealien.com.

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