Tuesday, June 1, 2010

A New Experience (for ME!)

I have often used this space to lament the fact that my son has never really had anyone to just hang out with, especially at night.

Last Friday the whole family went to dinner in Chinatown, so that we could check out one of the Ultimate Frisbee pick-up games that my son found listed on the Web. We walked to the Common, and arrived about 15 minutes before the posted 8:30 start time. I took the bull by the horns, and asked a couple of Frisbee players if they were playing an organized game or a pick-up. Both people I asked said they were organized; but the leader of the second group invited my son to join them. The players comprised a youth group from a nearby church, and ranged in age from late middle school through high school. Once he joined in, my daughter and I wandered around and eventually came upon the pick-up group. They were getting ready to play under the lights of the softball field.

I walked back to where my son was now fully engaged in this friendly match, and let him know that the other group was just forming on the softball field. Since the youth group didn’t have the benefit of lights, I suspected they would be calling it quits soon.

Then, like a good mother of a young adult, I left him; and my daughter and I took the train home. By the time we got there, it was after 9. I explained to my husband (who had gone home a little earlier) that I left him playing with a group, and had given him the info about the pick-up game. But I wasn’t sure what he intended to do. He might have either stayed with the youth group, or come home after they stopped playing, or headed across the Common to the other game.

For the first time that I can remember, I was worried about my son – out alone at night. I reminded myself he was NOT alone but with peers, playing Ultimate Frisbee. Nonetheless, by 10 PM, I asked my husband if he thought I should call and see where he was. His answer was an unequivocal “no.” I managed to wait until 10:15 and then I sent him a text: “Pls check in when leaving.” I tried a few minutes later to entice him into responding by telling him the score of the Celtics game. He did not answer that either.

It was nearly 11 and I was just about to call him, when the phone rang. It was my son, letting us know that they just finished playing and he was on his way home. He walked in the door about forty minutes later with a scraped knee and a tired smile. As is often the case with my son, he saw the evening activities as nothing remarkable. I saw the night as another giant leap in his development.

I believe he’ll go back and play again. I hope they are nice kids. I hope if they go out after a game they will include him…but I hope they don't go to a bar. I hope he doesn’t get hurt, or lose his phone...or his wallet. Wow – is that what it feels like to be a parent of an adolescent growing up?

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