By Gretchen Leigh
Another Comicon down. I don’t directly participate now that my daughters are technically grownups, but I’m usually somehow greatly invested in those weekends.
Back when they were younger I had to chaperone. After they reached the age of maturation according to Con planners, meaning they could be chaperone free, I started to extricate myself from attending. Though it’s fun to see the costumes and admire all the work that went into them, they were long weekends of “hurry up and wait.”
Once they were of legal age to attend by themselves, I dropped them off at the Light Rail or a bus. They preferred the Light Rail, but I liked the close proximity of bus stops. So when they could legally drive themselves and their friends, they chose their own public transportation method.
However, their sensibility of such services was lacking and my role became like traffic guru, as I tried to impart my wisdom and experience about weekday commuters. I warned them last year they needed to take the bus on a Friday, because they’d never be able to find parking at the Light Rail Station. They insisted they knew what they were doing, but when they indeed couldn’t find parking near the Light Rail, ended up driving into Seattle.
I was proud of my youngest for braving the drive, but asked if they remembered where the car was parked. “We know, Mom,” was the replied text, which would have involved eye rolling had they told me in person. Then around 7:30 that evening, I received a frantic phone call from a teary child, “Mom? We lost the car. We’re lost. We’re afraid. Come get us.”
Those are the moments a mother dreads, because again, like the TV commercial with the toddler in the driver’s seat, bearing her dad’s cautionary tales, while she begs for the keys, I felt my five year olds were loose in Pioneer Square, Seattle’s bar district. My husband and I went to the rescue. After almost two hours driving around with the kids weeping in the backseats, we located their lost car.
This year was markedly different. I didn’t ask about their transportation plans. They didn’t offer up the information until the last minute. They decided to just drive into Seattle, armed with the traumatizing experience from their past as their cautionary tale. Wow! How brave. It was a feat they always told me they’d never do again. Then in unison they both said, “We are going to pin the location of the car on our phones and take pictures of the surrounding street signs.”
For me, it was a huge letdown. There was nothing left for me to do. However, when they texted me on the first day to tell me a kind security guard moved a cone so they could park “kind of in a crosswalk”, I got nervous. Kind security guards aside, they aren’t on duty as long as my daughters were going to be at the convention. I suggested they check on the car sometime during the day. Then I became obsessed.
Unfortunately, their cell reception wasn’t great, so it took several hours (or maybe it was only minutes) for them to respond. During which time I texted one of their friends to find out if she’d heard from them, and frantically texted “I need to know if I’m driving to Seattle to bail your car out of the impound yard.”
Finally, they responded, “The car’s fine. We’re fine. It’s all fine.” Which it was. I relaxed and all but forgot about them the rest of the weekend. We’re all getting a lot braver these days.
Gretchen Leigh is a stay-at-home mom who lives in Covington. You can read more of her writing and her blog on her website livingwithgleigh.com, on Facebook at “Living with Gleigh.”or follow her on Twitter @livewithgleigh. Her column is also available at maplevalleyreporter.com under the Life section.