A decade ago, my husband and I found ourselves living in the middle of the twilight zone. It’s the situation where someone hears no but thinks it means yes. Where boundaries are pushed to their absolute limit. Where clinging love collides with letting go. This zone is often called raising teenagers.
Our oldest child (the one who gets experimented on by rookie parents) had reached that point in his life where girls were number one on his list of priorities. School, family and helping around the house weren’t even on his list anymore. Our conversations with him were arguments and confrontations more than anything else. It was a rough time for everyone. His two younger sisters were also emotional teens who cried at the drop of a hat and girlish drama was commonplace. But even they were baffled by their brother’s sudden outbursts of anger and everything else that goes along with male hormones run amok.
One evening, an argument began over something simple like homework or whose turn it was to do the dishes and escalated into a private MMA event between my son and husband. My husband isn’t a violent person but he and Colby are both six and a half feet tall. On this night, calm parenting was not going to happen and an angry, out-of-control teen needed to be put into a body hold to calm him down. It resulted in my husband’s shoulder crushing into a wall during the wrestling match. It was bad and emotions were really, really high. I was scared and my daughters were really worried. This kind of thing just didn’t happen in our house.
After he had calmed down, my son was told not to come out of his room for the rest of the night and we would just have a discussion about it the next day. We were all tired and emotionally drained. It was quiet for a while until our middle child came upstairs to me in tears and reported, through her sobs “I can smell smoke from Colby’s room. I think it smells like pot.” Her sweet concern for her brother was touching but my heart leaped through my chest. DRUGS?! What? This was not our son! He might be a bit rebellious at home but no other behavior issues had ever been noticed. And no drugs or alcohol ever! The whole family ran to the basement where his room was and sure enough, you could smell marijuana outside of his room. His door was locked. He wouldn’t reply to our knocking. He wouldn’t respond to us pounding. I had visions of my son, stoned out of his mind, laying on his bed in a stupor. As parents, we were frustrated, worried and terrified at the same time. My hubby finally decided to take off the doorknob and break into the bedroom. We were shocked to find no one there! His screen was removed from the window and he was gone. More worry! And BOY was that pot smell strong!
Assuming he had run away, and knowing he was on foot, we rushed down the street from our house, searching, but there was no sign of him. We tried calling his cell phone, but no answer. We really didn’t know what to do and I was kind of starting to panic. It was then that I realized, three houses away from ours, I could still smell the marijuana. Okay…that was weird. He had only been smoking for 10 minutes at the most. I had never used it, but I logically assumed that it wouldn’t travel down the street from inside our house. Would it? Then we noticed our next door neighbor had several cars parked in front of their house. The same neighbor who had an odd interest in small explosives and liked to set them off on the Fourth of July and New Years Eve and scare the crap out of everyone on the block. The same neighbor who occasionally had friends over, partied and smoked weed in his backyard…
After a while, we discovered Colby hiding in the garden in our own backyard, just sitting there. Completely calmed down and not stoned at all. Not aware that we had been searching for him. Not aware that my worried mom imagination had pictured him in a drug rehab facility and dropped out of school, or worse. It’s funny how when you discover your son isn’t using illegal drugs and isn’t a runaway, how relieved you feel. We hugged him and he probably thought we were a little overboard with the affection. When we told him what we assumed had happened, he looked at us like we were crazy!
He grew out of that stage, like teens do and is now a wonderful father himself. When we are all sharing old family stories, we all have a good laugh when someone says “Colby, remember that time you weren’t smoking pot?”