When Empty Nesting Becomes a Police Matter

Mixed results so far in the business of developing autonomy.

Firstly, I arranged to take a running clinic with a friend – how grown up and adventurous!  Here’s an activity that will make me fit and slim and possibly even preclude me from carrying a cellphone, thereby guaranteeing an hour of exclusively adult company.

We went for a coffee before registering, and I told my friend about my plans to reinvent myself.  As we left the coffee shop I laughed and explained that I couldn’t resist the temptation to call home and check in – even though my children are 12, 15 and 17 and quite capable of being home on their own at eight o’clock of an evening.  Nonetheless I pulled out my phone to the sight of a furiously blinking ‘message’ light.  Not to worry, it’ll all be fine, I thought, until I heard my son’s hysterical voice imploring me to come right home because he’d called the Kids Help Phone and they’d told him to call the police and the police are on their way over.

Say What?  The police!  And do you think I could get an answer on the home phone number or any of the three cellphones for which I pay so much to ensure I can reach the children at any time?

I didn’t get my new running shoes, but I did break some landspeed records on the way home.

You’ll be relieved to hear that everyone is alive and well.  Said son was on the receiving end of some harassment at the hands of another student at school, and the Kids Help Phone seemed like the perfect people to help.  Why they felt this was a police matter, I’m not sure, but when a police officer did finally turn up at the door she very kindly allayed my fears of being hauled off to the slammer for failing to instruct my children on the precise situations that warrant a 911 phone call.

Next week when I do actually start running I can only hope that the agony of exertion can keep my mind off the chaos that could be unfolding at home.


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