"Because I said so, that's why!" I slammed the door and stomped down the hall. Why me, I thought. Did anyone else's kids act this way? My head pounded. First the boss breathing down my neck, now this. What a way to cap off a perfect Monday.
An hour later and calm, I made my way back to my teenage son's room. It was quiet. Too quiet. I opened the door. It was unlocked for once. The walls of his room were covered in posters of his favorite bands and anime characters. His bed sat against one wall to my right, the covers rumpled, a pillow on the floor. Across from his bed was the shelving unit with his stereo and CD collection. Under the window directly in front of me was his desk. The only thing missing was my son.
"Oh, God." I sank down onto his bed. I fingered his sheets as I thought about our latest argument. He was letting his grades slip again. Without a high enough average, he would be kicked out of his high school. As it was, he was supposed to be in the school down the street, but it was riddled with gangs and drugs. So I had put him into a program which allowed him to attend school in a different district as long as he did well academically. And slipping grades make me paranoid for him. He's a small guy and I couldn't imagine he'd last much more than a week at the nearby school. I want him to be safe.
Tears streaked down my face. Now he had taken off and I had no idea where to look for him. This wouldn't be the first timie he'd done something impulsive like this in anger. But it worried me that he would get lost or hurt. "David," I said, talking as though he were in the room, "I'm sorry I yelled at you. I just love you so much and want what's best for you. It's hard being a single mom. I'm just trying to do the best I can for us both. Please come home."
"David?" I turned toward his closet to see my beautiful son standing in the doorway.
"Mom, I'm sorry if I scared you. I went curl up in the closet to think. It's dark in there, no distractions. No temptation to run off." His eyes were red-rimmed with crying.
I rose from the bed and took my boy in my arms. It felt wonderful to touch him and smell him. Then I pulled back to look him in the eye and was startled to see that we were the same height. Struggling for composure, I said, "Please don't scare me like that again. Even if we argue, I still love you. And I will always."
"I know, Mom. I love you, too." A grin spread across his face. "Does this mean I'm not grounded?"
I looked at him. His golden brown hair, chocolate eyes and charming grin made quite a picture. I smiled and said, "You wish."