the NYPD and Charlotte's anecdote (A takes a walk)
A hit puberty last year, and is currently going through growing pains. On top of that, A is already taller than my 5'8" frame.
After walking Napoleon (his imaginary brother now incarnated in the form of a Weimaraner) one evening recently, and after an unhappy conversation with me, A decided to walk out of the apartment. Just like that. At nine o'clock in the evening. In New York City.
A needed a breather. I could understand that. We all need breathers when we are young and figuring stuff out. But not knowing where my child decided to go (around the block? To the deli? Where? He hadn't taken his cellphone with him)...worried me to the point that I called 911.
A was gone all of 15 minutes. La Mai. Please. Chill. Out.
Thank goodness, the NYPD took their time. I had called them back to "cancel" my "emergency" but "cancelling" apparently doesn't exist in the world of the New York City police force.
In the hour-and-a-half it took for the two gentlemen in blue to ring my doorbell, Charlotte rang on the phone.
It's really a gift for me to have a fairy godmother whose son was equally tall at age 12. Strange to "talk them down" when you're looking up.
She offered me this anecdote: Once upon a time in New York, one of her two sons, who I will call "Tallie", decided to have a "sleepover" at his friend M's house. So Tallie left in the evening to sleepover at M's. A little while later that night, M's mother rang Charlotte. She was checking up on her son M. Charlotte understood. M and Tallie decided to hang out somewhere, and told their mothers that they'd sleep at the other's house. Of course, yet another mother rang Charlotte, asking about a third missing boy.
No one knew where the boys were.
Long short, M and Tallie and the third boy knew about an empty apartment, and they decided to go there and have fun. Charlotte knew about the apartment, too, and went there straightaway. When Charlotte arrived, it was dark. No one there. Then she turned on the light in the apartment. "It was like mice, scattered mice running away as soon as the light switch went on." All the boys were there. So were some girls. It was the early 1970s, but who knows what they were up to? (Sorry, Maitresse can't divulge what the boys were doing!!!).
Of course, the moral of the story was, if you won't ask permission to leave, please tell your mothers where you are going!!!
I relayed this story to A.
Then the doorbell rang. It was the men in blue.
Me: "Um, hi. My son is here. Sorry to have disturbed. Maybe I was a bit overanxious and called you guys."
NYPD guy: "He's 12-years-old? He can't be." [shakes his head in that "look lady, you don't have to lie to have us come over, you know?" way]
We said our goodnights and A got it. We mothers just need to know. Or we do freaky things like call the NYPD or use anecdotes like Charlotte's to call them out on it 35 years later.
"Mother, I won't do that again." It was all that this mother needed to hear.