The Night Before The Night Before Christmas Panic Letters To Charles

December 24th, 2010

Dear Charles,

Hey guess what Charles!  I woke up at 4:30 am panicking about my oldest son who was spending the night with some friends absolutely positive that he was upended in his car in a ditch on a back road.  So I texted him, but he didn’t text back so then I called him and he didn’t answer, so then I texted him again and then I called him again andhe still didn’t answer and then I got really panicked and figured he really was upended in a ditch on a back road somewhere, so I bundled up in my robe and a coat and drove to his friend’s house to make sure that his car was parked at his friend’s house AND IT WASN’T THERE!  So then I drove to his other friend’s house to see if maybe he had decided to spend the night there instead and NOPE CAR NOT THERE EITHER!  So then I called Mike and told him that Calder wasn’t at his friend’s house and he wasn’t answering any of my calls or texts so he is probably upended in a ditch on a back road somewhere.  Then Mike called Calder and Calder finally answered and said he was at his friend’s house, but that he had car-pooled there with his friend and that his car was at the highschool parking lot.  So Mike called me back and told me to call my son and talk to him and to go pick him up because he is probably not really at his friend’s house because he is probably really at some strip joint on the outside of Topeka drinking beer and doing drugs.  Except that Mike didn’t really say that part about the strip joint/beer/drugs, but I know we were both thinking it.  So I called Calder as I was driving to the Highschool to see if his car was really there and not at a strip joint in Topeka and at first, I didn’t see his car, but finally I located it at the far end of the parking lot and then Calder called me and said in a very thick sleepy voice, “Mom?”

Me – “Yes?”

Calder – “What do you want?”

Me – “Where are you?”

Calder – “I’m at Tanner’s house.”

Me – “Why isn’t your car there?”

Calder – “Because I met Tanner at the Highschool and got in his car so we could go to lift weights together in the morning”

Me – “Why didn’t you answer your phone?”

Calder – “I was sleeping…?”

Me – “Okay… well… go back to sleep son.”

Calder – “Are you going to come get me?”

Me – “No, that’s just your dad talking crazy talk – you know how he is – but you come home right after weights understand!”

Calder – “I was going to anyway.”

Me – “And call us next time when you get to your friend’s house so I don’t have to worry about where you are!.”

Calder – “Okay”

Me – “And if you decide to carpool with a friend, you need to TELL us!”

Calder – “Okay”

Me – “Goodnight.”

So that is how my morning has gone Charles!  I don’t know which is harder.  Being a teenager or being the mom of a teenager.  But I think that being the teenage son of a crazy mom is probably the hardest of all.

Also – I think I will be totally exhausted by the time Christmas Eve gets here!

Going to try and sleep now.

Merry Christmas Charles,



Dear Rechelle –


That’s horrible! It sounds like in this case, being the mom of a teenager was harder than being the teenager. All Calder had to do was sleepily answer a vaguely annoying call from Mike and then sleepily and vaguely annoyedly establish telephonic communication with you and then go back to sleep. You, on the other hand, had to run around for hours in an adrenaline-soaked state of alarm and then go back to sleep. I’d say you won this round of who-has-it-harder? handily.

If you ever find yourself waking up at 4:30 a.m. in a panic about something like this again, you can perhaps calm yourself with the knowledge that the police are generally good about spotting upended cars in ditches and about following up with all interested parties in a timely fashion if they do make such a discovery, so the upended-car scenario is highly unlikely if the police aren’t at your house following up. Also, I’m pretty sure strip joints close at 2:00 or 3:00 a.m. At least I’m pretty sure that alcohol can’t be served after one or both of those times in Kansas, and I assume that the strip joint owners figure that no one’s going to want to pay high prices for nonalcoholic beverages to nurse while watching the strippers, so what’s the point of staying open? Therefore, you can rule out the strip joint scenario. With these two scenarios out of the picture, you can peacefully drift off back to sleep.

Anyway, I hope you were able to get back to sleep after all that anxiety and activity and that you’re now well rested and rarin’ to go for Christmas Eve.

I’ve got the day off today and have a couple of things to catch up on, one of which is the next Dear Charles post, which I can’t believe it’s taken me so long to get to. Tomorrow, I’ll be celebrating Christmas with none of the fixin’s, by going to a movie and dinner with some friends from work.

Fa la la la la la la la la,


  • Ah yes – the life of the mother of a teenage son. Mine doesn’t have his license yet, but many of his friends do so now he’s off gallivanting with them. He also goes camping with one friend – just the two of them! In the forest, near bears! And now that it’s winter they camp in the snow at the mountain so they can get in as much snowboarding as possible. At least the bears are smart enough to sleep through the winter, so I don’t have to worry about him getting eaten by a bear…

    He’s a good kid and always texts me to let me know he’s survived his adventures before he starts home. But I know that worried, restless nights will be more common now – we should maybe start an online support group of worried moms. :-)

    I hope you and your family have a very lovely holiday! Cheers!

  • Nancy:

    Oh man, I get this. My “boys” are now 22 and 25. It still happens – that moment of panic when you can’t account for your children. At their ages I have to keep it to myself a lot, that urge to scream “WHERE ARE YOU!?!” as every awful headline you’ve ever read runs through your mind. They’re home for Christmas right now and I know that when they depart for their respective cities I’ll be watching the clock and waiting for the calls to say that they’ve made it. This will make me sound like even more of a lunatic – but when they were teens and driving, if I went to bed before they were home I always had clothes ready to jump into with my purse and keys on top in case a state trooper knocked on the door or I had to rush to the ER. Motherhood makes you crazy.

  • There is an easy solution to this…it’s the internet age, we have the technology. With this you can log in to a website, see where the car is on a map, call him and ask “Why is the car at the house of that girl that you drew all those hearts around in the yearbook instead of at Tanners house?”

  • Kathy from NJ:

    The next three will have it so much easier. In a few years you’ll be the one driving Jack to the strip clubs.

  • susan:

    OMG – my sons are older (30′s) but that pit of stomach worry didnt end until my youngest got married at 30. As long as they live with you and they go “out” with friends….horrible. A mom just cant go to sleep unless all her chicks are tucked in. No matter what age. I surely do not miss all that angst.