I like to think I have a sense of humor. I’m good at playing pranks on others, and I’m usually good at being on the receiving end. Usually. Last night, my sense of humor was greatly challenged.
My 19 year old daughter is a freshman in college some three hours away. As most parents do, we’ve worked hard to get her to this point. We bypassed all of the challenging adolescent drama-queen phases and she’s finally matured into a beautiful, confident, independent young woman. Our hopes and dreams for her were finally coming to fruition. She’d finish college, get a good job, maybe find the guy, get married, and eventually have children. In that order. Last night she thought she’d goof with my head and get a glimpse of what might happen if she took those things out of order.
At 1:30 this morning, my mobile phone rang. It was Amber. I wasn’t shocked or concerned, sometimes she calls me at odd hours and I was awake.
“What’s up?” I said in greeting.
“Hey Mom. I need you to check my Facebook status, then text me,” she said.
“Yup! I’m fine. Just text me.”
“Okay,” I told her, hanging up.
“Hi Mom!” she answered.
“Ha-ha. Very funny,” I told her.
“What?” she sounded worried.
“Ha-ha. You can take your relationship status down. You didn’t fool me.”
“I wasn’t kidding,” she said.
“Okay. You’ve had your fun. Take it down before people think you’re serious,” I laughed.
“I’m totally serious.”
I paused. Was she kidding? She recently started dating this new guy and, while her dad and I both thought he seemed like an overall good guy, what did we really know about him. What did she know about him?
“Mom?” she said into the dead silence of the phone. “You still there?”
“I’m here.” I could say no more.
“Mom, we’re really happy. I’m really happy. I’ve never been so happy. We want to get married right after away. Will you and Daddy come up next weekend? We thought we’d just go to the courthouse. It’s not what I’d imagined, but I really want to do this. We really want to do this.”
“Am, you’re kidding me. Right?” I asked.
“Am? Tell me your kidding,” I said.
Long silence. Then, “I’m not. I’m really happy. I want to do this.”
Now I’m getting angry. She’s 19 years old, barely finished with her first year of college and she sounds serious.
“Okay, then…what’s your rush? If this is a good idea today, it’ll be a good idea in six months or a year…two years….five years,” I said.
“I know. But we want to do it now.”
“What’s your rush?” I asked again.
“Nick’s getting deployed. We want to do it before he goes, and I’ll be here when he gets back.”
My blood pressure is now at boiling level. We’ve reached DefCon 5. I’m not sure whether I’m going to strangle her or the young man. I go for the young man.
“Put Nick on the phone,” I tell her.
“He’ll be right back. He went to the bathroom.”
“Then pass the damned phone through the bathroom door. I want to talk to him.”
“Mom! I can’t do that!” she said.
“Have you told your Daddy yet?” I asked.
“I thought I’d call him tomorrow morning. I don’t want to wake him tonight.”
“Oh lovely! His birthday’s tomorrow. Happy freakin’ birthday! He’ll love this!” I told her. I’m now near panic attack mode.
The tears begin. “Mom, why can’t you be happy for us? We’re really happy. I’ve never been so happy!”
Time to backpedal.
“Am, Nick’s a nice guy. We like him. But you barely know him. Think on this for a while. In six months or a year — if it’s still a good idea — then fine. But this is too quick.”
“But I love him, Mom! I can’t wait!”
Now I snapped.
“You can’t marry him! You’re not even Facebook-Official for dating! You can’t marry a guy that you’re not even Facebook-Official!!!” I think I might’ve screamed this last into the phone.
You know how you can tell when you’ve sent a mom completely over the edge? A good clue is when she evaluates the seriousness of her daughter’s relationship with whether she’s announced it on Facebook. I’d clearly lost my mind.
“I’m done. I’m handing the phone off to Daddy. I can’t say anymore or I’ll say something I’ll regret, and I’m not handling this conversation well. Hang on,” I told her.
“No Mom. I’ll call Daddy tomorrow. Don’t wake him up.”
“Oh no! If I have to put up with this BS in the middle of the night, then so does he!”
Finally — after a full ten minutes of this discussion — she burst into laughter.
“I can’t do this anymore. I’m kidding,” she says.
Now I’m not so sure. She’s led me on so long that I don’t know which way is up.
“You’re serious? You’re full of crap?” (Huh – did that even make sense?).
“Yeah. I’m just kidding. I’m not getting married. I just wanted to see what you’d say!” she came clean.
Huh. I guess she won’t have to guess any longer. We continued our conversation for a few more minutes.
“Put Daddy on the phone,” she asked.
The only thing I heard in the background was Nick’s painful plea: “NO! PLEASE DON’T PUT ‘DADDY’ ON THE PHONE!”
I might forgive her someday. I may even find the humor in the situation. The verdict is still out. For now, the young man is still hiding from me. I heard last night that he was totally freaking out. Apparently he’s had experience with a mom on the warpath? That, or my reputation precedes me.
In the meantime, her favorite uncle has been notified. He’s a badass Lt. Col. in the U.S. Army. He’s currently putting together a unit of highly trained soldiers with special sniper skills to hunt down Young Nick. He can run, but he’ll never hide from “The Uncle.”