This is another road-trip story—but not really. It might be a parenting story, and I haven’t actually parented for many many years.
All things considered I was a fairly decent parent to my three children. By the time my third arrived on the scene—that would be Taylor—I’d become, should I say, laissez-faire. Ben and Quinn were easy (enough) to parent, so I might not even notice a difference from adding Taylor to my days.
You saw it coming. Taylor was, um, how does a loving mother describe a kid like Taylor? Maybe I should just say he gave us a run for our money. But I don’t hold it against him. He eventually straightened up.
But straightening up hadn’t happened yet when we lived in Waynesville, NC, the first stop on our recent house-revisiting adventure.
The young man in question looked like this at the time he and a neighborhood friend decided to walk more than a half mile from home to enjoy a swim in the pool at Lake Junaluska Conference Center. More than a half mile from home. Without asking.
In those days it was safe and acceptable to let your kids roam the neighborhood, and he had asked to play at a friend’s. Sometime along, Paul and I noticed his absence, and the panic quickly set in.
Of course the panic is what I remembered all these years later as we drove around and near the pool where it all happened. Not one to let a major infringement like that go unreminded, I took these pictures to send to T so he can remember with me what a turkey he was.
I wrote to him: “I still want to wring your neck. Of course I had to take these pictures for your sake and to give you what-for once again for doing such an incredibly asinine thing. I still love you, though. mama”
He wrote back: “Very cool. Just remember that I knew where I was the whole time.”
Reminding me of his response to us when he finally showed up. I didn’t detect a whole lot of remorse.