I should have known better when my 12 year old son asked me if I would drive him and three of his friends to the indoor skate park yesterday. They had the day off from school in honor of the Jewish New Year and "Absolutely," was my answer when he asked me. I told him we could go after I took his sister to her eye exam at 1:30. What I didn't bother to ask was were the skate park was. I assumed it was in the next town over from ours but you know the old saying about ASSuming. My bad, literally. When I arrived home at 3pm from the optometrist, I found the four boys in my driveway all geared up, riding their boards, anxiously awaiting my arrival. My son ran up to the door of my car and greeted me with,"OK mom, we're ready. Lets go!"
Imagine my surprise when just a few short moments later I learned that the skate park was not the same park they normally go to. No, this park was located almost an hour away. After I unsuccessfully tried to find every excuse not to make the trek out there, I reluctantly agreed to go.
"You didn't tell me it was an hour away," I argued.
"You didn't ask," he had me there.
"It will be closed by the time we arrive," I reasoned.
"No. It stays open till 9pm," I was told.
"You need to have signed release forms from your parents," I told them, after calling to confirm the fact. "You can't skate without them," I said triumphantly .
"We have all been there before and our forms are on file," I was again told.
After exhausting a few more options, I realized that I had no other choice. I said I would take them so take them I did. I packed up my computer and the four boys and we were off on our adventure. Little boys are funny creatures and I made some observations on our hour long ride:
1. They smell! Wow, these guys really stink. They had been playing football all morning and riding skateboards until I came home. Lets just say they were ripe!! And they think it's funny, being smelly.
2. No topic of conversation is off limits. They had all gone to a big, fancy party the weekend before and they rattled on and on about the girls, the "hook-ups", the dancing and the games they played without skipping a beat. They also will engage in the latest bit of gossip with little prodding.
3. They are uber competitive. I found their conversations about sports to be competitive in nature although they did compliment each other from time to time by exclaiming, "Dude, you were a beast on that play," or "You have some sick moves!"
At 4:30 we had arrived at our destination and the boys were more than ready. It was an awesome spectacle which was not lost on the two boys that were there for the first time. Amid the cries of "This is awesome", I completed the necessary paper work and off they went into the enormous, old warehouse with "half pipes" of every size scattered throughout. They even had a pit filled with foam that allowed daredevils to do tricks off their boards and safely land into it. My son was in heaven. I wisely brought my computer along so I was able to get some work done in the two hours I waited for them.
6:30pm-and I had to get their attention to let them know it was time to go. After about 5-10 minutes of them pretending not to see me waving, they came over and I bought them each a drink. We retreated to the car for the trip home. Again, the conversation swapped back and forth from competitive to complimentary, each extolling their own skateboard prowess. They smelled even worse than before, if that was possible, and had by now conned me into stopping at the drive-thru at Wendy's for a quick bite whereas it was their tradition. We laughed when the boys ordered kids meals and the burgers in them were no bigger than the palm of their hands. It was agreed that these boys were no longer in the kids meal category, that they had just graduated to the adult menu. While we were continuing our ride home the most amazing thing happened. Just as I was thinking about dropping each one of them safely at home and throwing my own, stinky son into the shower, I slyly got roped into a sleepover. I have to say, the kid who started it is good. He and my son played it to perfection.
He called his mom from my phone and mid-sentence he says to her,"Can I call you right back mom?" He then turns to the boys and says,"Do you guys want to have a sleepover?" Of course they all say yes, even though I am saying no over and over. After all it was a school night. The kid then says, "My mom will say no to my house but she'll say yes if we stay at yours." I was dumbfounded or just plain dumb because somehow my son and this kid talked me into the four-way sleepover. The four of them promised to take showers and be in bed by 10pm and agreed if they didn't comply with my rules that their parents would be called and they would be picked up immediately. It sounded innocent enough.
A few snippets from the evening:
9:30pm-I ask them to stop playing floor hockey in the bedroom. The delicate glass lighting fixtures and figurines on display directly beneath them had begun pinging and shaking from the constant banging on the floor above.
9:45-I hear laughing and screaming and things clanging on the floor above me. They were throwing things around jumping on the mattresses. Although they had already showered, they were sweaty and smelly yet again!
10:00-We set up the sleeping arrangements. At this point I am no longer in "the cool mom" mode and they are now in fart mode..need I say more.
10:15-After about three or four warning trips to the room, they complain that they are hot so I go in search of a fan. I reason that the "white noise" of a fan will magically lull them to sleep. Wrong.
10:40-I am now angry mom. I go to the room with every intention of driving them home and ending this now, when my son promises that they will go to sleep. I leave the room and sit outside the closed door ready to pounce at a moments notice.
10:42-All quiet.. wow sometimes threats really do work.
I woke them at 6:30 am the next morning with the joy of knowing I was an hour away from getting rid of all of them for the day. "Cool mom" had returned and I was even cooler when they realized that Lucky Charms was the breakfast of choice for the morning. The little ducklings went off to school without a hitch and I drove home wondering why I am so easily persuaded. I felt I had done the right thing for my son, but the big payoff was when I picked him up after school later that day and he said to me, "Mom, I wanted to thank you for yesterday. I had the best day. You're the best." It was all worth it. I now understand why I do it.