Monday, September 27, 2010

Why I will have no problem giving her the car keys someday

As true hipster LA parents, we take both kids with us to the Vampire Weekend show at the Hollywood bowl.  As true overindulged LA children, my daughter, dressed for the occasion in an old t-shirt, basketball shorts, and some glo-sticks that she got as a favor at a birthday party that afternoon, immediately begins playing some kind of frog game on the iPad, and my son is checking facebook while eating a bacon-wrapped hot dog*.    My husband wanders off to say hi to a friend, and I unpack our wine and cheese.  The near-capacity crowd around us is, to use the polite phrase, "a bit pickled" or perhaps "feeling no pain".  It's dark, the music's pulsing, loud and fun, and night is hot and sticky.  

I see the tell-tale squirm, and my daughter jumps up, handing me the iPad and a spare glo-stick and snatching a ticket for re-entry to our seats as she rushes toward the aisle.   She disappears down the stairs, blending quickly into the throng of bobbing heads.

My husband comes back, and asks if I want anything while he goes to grab more food.  I begin slowly to realize that my daughter is alone, at night, heading for a giant public restroom at a rock concert among 10,000+ people with no adult supervision. 

Me:  Could you look for her?  I'm sure she's fine, but...
Him:  Which way did she go?
Me:  I...I'm not sure!  I didn't really see...
Him:  OK.  OK.  I'll look.  Don't worry.   I'll be right back.

I am completely panicking.  Where was she?  How would we find her if she was lost?  Or hurt, or...whatever!  What kind of mother am I to just watch her leave without even thinking twice about it until way too late?   How on earth would she find her way back?  Hell, we had to ask two ushers on our way to the seats in the first place!   I start ceaselessly scanning the massive crowd that stretches in every direction, peering frantically at the entrances, willing myself to catch a glimpse even though I know I am much too far away to actually find her in the gloom.     

And then I see it.  A tiny pink light coming through the sea of people, waving energetically.    Moving purposefully along the aisle, then stopping.    I grab the other glo-stick and raise it above my head, waving back with all my heart.   Her light waves quickly, then weaves closer.   I'm flapping mine like a crazy person, dizzy with relief.   The pink glow comes up the stairs, still going back and forth as she climbs towards us.     She plops into her seat, wordlessly holds out her hand for the iPad, and goes back to playing with the frogs.

A few minutes later, my son leaves to get another hot dog.   He borrows a glo-stick from his sister and leans over so I can hear him above the music.

Him:  Mom, wave for me too, OK?
Me:  OK. Sure. OK.

* That's my kid all right.  Found the one item with bacon on it in the entire Hollywood Bowl.   BTW, he highly recommends it.  Look for the BBQ booth below the popcorn guy.  They also do great grilled corn.

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