New Year’s Eve 2014. What were you doing on this night? Probably sitting at home trying to stay up for the countdown or if you were lucky and without kiddos, having a great time laughing and celebrating the new year. That New Years Eve I wasn’t laughing here is how mine went.
My eldest daughter was 16 years old. She was going out with her friends – not an idea that I was crazy about but it was a special night. I was the responsible mother and made sure to give her ‘the talk’ – Where are you going? Who’s going to be there? Is there a parent home? How are you getting home? Etc. She assured me she was just going to a small get together up the street and they were going to walk home for curfew.
I distinctly remember her saying “It’s not a party, just some friends hanging out.” She asked me if she could have 1 drink at midnight to ring in the new year. I told her that I preferred she didn’t however, I was 16 once (or at least I think I was) and I wasn’t oblivious to the possibility. I did say “If you do choose to drink, be careful and take it slow. “Yes mom” she replied while rolling her eyes into the back of her skull as if she knew everything, and agreed. She still knows everything if anyone was wondering.
Fast forward to 12 am. She called me – a little noisy in the background but hey, it’s New Year’s Eve. She shouted “Happy New Years Mom” and told me she was having fun. Phew, what a relief! She sounded fine and told me she would see me by 2 am. I was exhausted with a new baby at home so I was hoping to go to sleep shortly. I told her to check in with me and to call me anytime for any reason. I have always told her that I will never be mad as long as she calls if she needs me – her safety must always come first.
Just as I am finally drifting off to sleep, I get a call a few minutes after 2 am. It’s really loud now and my daughter is making no sense. I simply ask her when she was coming home groggily and she says “Mom, I can’t come home. I am the mom here, everyone is drunk and I need to keep everyone safe.” Trying to make sense of her strange words, I said “Safe? What the heck are you talking about? Are you safe?” She starts rambling on with all sorts of nonsense about keeping her friends “safe” and how “they are all ok because she is the mom tonight”. She was also very upset about our cat that we recently put down. Emotional and clearly inebriated. I was in shock. How could she have been fine and I was so proud of her just 2 hours earlier and now is up for the drunk of the year award?
I repeatedly asked her “Are you drunk? How much have you had to drink?” in between her rants about who knows what. She kept replying with “a little”. A little (or a lot) too much is more like it.
I was asking her where she was so someone could go get her. A hard task with the rambling intoxicated teenager on the other end of the phone. After several aggravating minutes, she confessed that she didn’t know where she was! They got into a sober friend’s car and were no longer at the first house where they were supposed to be – it was “boring”. She forgot to tell me she was going elsewhere. Just “forgot”. I demanded she put someone else (anyone else) on the phone. Her girlfriend finally came on the line – FINALLY, someone who can form sentences! – and gave me the address. My neighbour’s daughter was also out with her so now I have to break the news to her that our teenage daughter’s are up to no good and need to be picked up. My neighbour was already calling me on the other line to find out an address that she needed to go to because her daughter was supposed to be home already too. My daughter who was having so much fun talking to me she didn’t want to get off the phone as she spoke continuously and at hyper speed about random topics. Wandering outside in the cold so I could hear her clearly.
Teenage mentality – my daughter was then trying to convince me that she was going to sleep at her friend’s house. They would all be safe and her friends will keep her safe. I was trying to be calm on the outside but I was so angry and disappointed on the inside. It would have been pointless for me to yell or lose it at that moment. The only “safe” place my kid was going would be home.
My neighbour went to pick the girls up. She called me to report that she had to scream “BE CAREFUL” at my daughter as she wandered into the street without looking to get in the car and almost got hit by a snow plow. She walked from the house to the car without boots – barefoot in the snow! Let’s be honest – I can’t even say she was walking, it was more like some kind of swaying. My not yet husband greeted her at the front door as she tried to avoid us and walk right up the stairs to her room. He directed her to sit down. She swayed over to the couch. He wanted to get a read of what and how much she may have drank and to make sure it was just alcohol in her system. Once he was convinced she was just drunk, we allowed her to go to bed.
I literally didn’t sleep as I checked on her every half hour. To think that I had to do checks on both a little baby and a big teenager! In the morning, she was unfortunately not hung over and if she was, she would never admit it. She got up and made a can of Zoodles to eat. I couldn’t eat that on any morning so she clearly had a point to prove.
We now tease her all the time about that New Year’s Eve. Looking back, I can now admit that it was funny. We ask her repeatedly if she is “safe” and joke about her barefoot shenanigans. I often ask her at the end of her night if she brought her shoes home with her this time. Even her 19th birthday cake had a drunk Barbie on it who had lost her shoe.
In that moment, I was so furious but happy she felt safe to call. Now she can legally drink and I trust her judgment but I still worry. The things I have seen in my party days and it only seems worse now. The scariest part is that in 12 years, I will have 3 teenagers at the same time. I’m screwed! The moral of my story – it was better and more fun to be a 16-year-old than to be the mother of one!