Honey, I Lost the Kids

I was up around Franconia, New Hampshire, on what my family always refers to as “yet another” girls’ weekend (while I typically preface it with “sorely needed”) when I committed a grave error. I texted my husband with a simple question: “How’s everyone?”

This is how he responded (I am copying verbatim from my phone): “Fine. D and C are out. Don’t know where J is.”

Allow me to translate. “Great!” I read. “I’m all alone in the house and just poured myself a giant gin and tonic. The one who just got her driver’s license after a six-minute test was so excited by the prospect of using your car all weekend that she took her little sister, dressed in pajamas and flip-flops, out for a drive in the darkness. Meanwhile, I’ve lost track entirely of the impulsive one with mischievous friends and poor judgment!”

When I threatened to blog about his ineptitude, he suggested I check his Facebook status. It read, “Sue’s away on another girls’ weekend and I’m left with the usual task list. I wonder which 70 percent of it I’ll get to.” Well, I’m glad he can make fun of the generous moniker I’ve invented for him, Mr. 70 Percent. But usual task list? Please. My instruction sheet said things like “Take C to birthday party” and “Soccer at 10:30” (as well as “Feed dogs”–but they would have starved otherwise!) If I were really going to leave a task list, it would most certainly include “Finish the tree house” and “Replace tiles in bathroom”! (See Yard Work is No Picnic). But I know how futile that would be.

Commenting on his FB status, several of his “friends” helpfully suggested that he install  a man cave, throw a huge party or organize a poker tournament. One simply read: “Toga, toga!” Meanwhile, my cohorts and I, enjoying our third bottle of wine overlooking Mt. Washington, followed the exchange with mounting amusement and eye-rolling. “Maybe you could start by finding 70 percent of the kids,” my friend Annie chimed in on his wall. “Just a thought.”

As much as I would like to blame Mr. 70 Percent for poor parenting, I’m just as guilty of  poor abdicating. I mean, what is the point of a girls’ weekend if I’m going to waste part of it asking how the kids are doing? For those few short days, they weren’t my problem; why did I insist on making them so? It’s not like I was going to get in the car, drive home and help look for them, even if they actually were missing.

Thankfully, everyone made it through the weekend alive, including the dogs. What exactly went on? I don’t want to know. From now on, I’m adopting a strict “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy whenever I go on yet another sorely needed girls’ weekend.

About Susan H. Greenberg

Susan H. Greenberg spent 22 years as a journalist for Newsweek Magazine. She now works as a writer, editor, teacher, and parent of three children, with whom she strives always to maintain a varnish-free relationship.
This entry was posted in Family life, Kids, Parenting, Travel and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

9 Responses to Honey, I Lost the Kids

  1. Sherry Gordon-Shulk says:

    Boy does this bring back memories. My oldest one,even at a very young age, was the one who knew what was the responsible things to get done or cared for. I used to come home and he would tell me only what he felt I absolutely needed to know. Even now that they are grown (I including their dad in this too) my oldest is still the one who makes sure things go the way I want. I go to TN for a week at the end of May every year. He waits until I’m on my way home to prepare me for what transpired that shouldn’t and what didn’t transpire that should have. He knows surprises are not good. It’s better if I’m prepared.

    • Sherry, I know what you mean! My oldest is the one who sent me regular updates–with photos–over the weekend. And the only one who seemed truly happy when I got back!

      • Sherry Gordon-Shulk says:

        Of course she was happy when you got home. Will is the same way. They can go back to just being themselves when we are home because they feel they have to step up when we’re gone. Even when we’re gone we still feel like we have to make sure everything is okay at home. So when do we ever get to really just be wild and crazy, without calling on the phone/texting to make sure everyone is okay. Maybe we’ll just have to be happy right now with just being able to get away for a bit. Hmmmmmm maybe someday we’ll be able to go away not have any concerns about home. LOL

  2. Annie Gilbert says:

    LOVE the new “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy! And I volunteer to keep you from texting Mr. 70 Percent on all future sorely needed girls’ weekends. (In future, you’ll probably get a better answer to the question of where your kids are if you just ask “Siri.”)

  3. Alexandra Donovan says:

    See Devon and I had an awesome sleepover! Jordan made it back to the house eventually “halloween” night…and passed out in bed. Carly was out partying. You were relaxing. And the dogs were freaking out at an unidentified something outside which Devon and I took to be a murderer……..it was perfect, not to worry 😉

  4. Alexandra Donovan says:


  5. Bill says:

    Its been my experience that you can not lose children. Even if you purposely leave them at the mall and run, they find their way home. Boomerangs with homing devices.

    Bill M.

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