The Party That Rocked my Block by
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(120 Stories)

Prompted By Parties

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My first two kids were pretty tame as teens, so when I learned about the ambulance in front of our house and every neighbor standing outside watching, it was a shock. Child #3 was far more social than her sibs, and she threw quite a party in my absence.

Of course, my husband and I thought she was staying with a friend down the street while we had an overnight getaway downtown to celebrate our anniversary. Her friend’s mother, a friend of mine, thought I had given the girls permission to spend the evening at our house. Perfect teen technique – divide and conquer and keep all parents off guard.

It was supposed to be a small party, but word got around quickly that there were no parents at home and every kid in town showed up. Before long, our house was overrun by teens blasting loud music and being disappointed by the paltry offerings of our liquor cabinet. While my daughter now laughs about this event and claims it was the best E-town party ever, I’m not sure I will ever get over finding a condom in the guest bedroom in our attic.

My daughter and her friend were a bit overwhelmed by their sudden popularity. Their lack of experience as illicit party hostesses became evident when they thought a guest was having an asthma attack and called 911. That’s when all hell broke loose. My friend ran down the block, initially panicked that someone was hurt. According to our neighbors, about one hundred kids rapidly abandoned the house like rats from a sinking ship when word got out that an ambulance and a very angry mother were on the way. The girl with asthma turned out to be fine, but my friend’s daughter and mine were not. By the time we came home, the girls were frantically attempting to restore order to what used to be our tidy house.

I’ll confess at this point that these girls had already fooled me once, so shame on me. I should have been savvier about trusting them anywhere near an unattended house. As freshmen, they convinced me that a party they wanted to attend was chaperoned. When I asked for the phone number of the parents hosting the party, my daughter said there was no need. Her friend’s mother had already called, Of course, the other mother was told that I had called. My husband drove them to the house, which he thought looked rather dark. But these girls were good. They convinced him all was well and he left. When we picked them up, they claimed the party was fun and that they had a great time.

I live in a small, interconnected community. The following Monday at work, one of my colleagues was describing a party at her neighbor’s house that resulted in some damage. It seems that the teen who was house sitting decided to throw a party, and things got out of control. My heart sunk. Yep, my daughter was at the party. When my friend and I confronted the girls about the party, they confessed that they had been there and were frightened by what the older teens were doing. They had not broken anything or done anything wrong. Nevertheless, they had not called for a ride home during the melee, which made them responsible in my eyes. In addition to being grounded, they wrote letters of apology and paid the owners $50 each out of their own savings to cover the damage.

The fact that they were the only kids who took responsibility and paid restitution outraged their immature sense of justice. But I felt it was an important lesson. Observing bad behavior and doing nothing to try to stop it was pretty wrong in my book. I naively believed that this would never happen again. I guess it took more than one experience to learn that parties with parents absent were an invitation to trouble.

Getting teens to take ownership of their actions and admit that they made an error in judgment can be tough. Now my former teen party hostess is the parent of children who may indulge in the same behavior, and she thinks that her past hijinks will make her less easily fooled than I was. I hope so. As we are learning from Christine Blasey Ford’s accusation of Brett Kavanaugh for attempting to rape her at what was probably an unauthorized party, things can happen in these circumstances that are life changing. As I explained to my daughter back then, being young does not absolve teens from responsibility for their actions.

My daughter’s party may have rocked my block, forcing me to step up my parenting game and use it as a life lesson for her. Because I believe Ford’s story (what would motivate her to lie and put herself through the hell she is in now?), Judge Kavanaugh’s alleged actions at a teen party have rocked our country.

I invite you to read my book Terribly Strange and Wonderfully Real and join my Facebook community.

 

Profile photo of Laurie Levy Laurie Levy
Boomer. Educator. Advocate. Eclectic topics: grandkids, special needs, values, aging, loss, & whatever. Author: Terribly Strange and Wonderfully Real.

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Characterizations: right on!, well written

Comments

  1. Betsy Pfau says:

    As you observe, unchaperoned parties are the stuff of parents’ nightmares and can get out of control way too often. It sounds like you and your husband took appropriate action after the first event, but that didn’t keep your daughter from trying a second, unfortunate time.

    As I read your account, I immediately went to the same place you did; to the national drama over the Kavanaugh confirmation hearings. Being on the art museum Board at Brandeis, I’ve had the privilege of meeting Anita Hill many times. She is so wise and thoughtful, having survived the trauma and turmoil in her life, she is almost serene; above the fray. But out to dinner with friends on Saturday night, the other woman remarked there must be others who frat boy Brett tried his moves on…they just haven’t come forth yet. And sure enough, yesterday one did. These unsupervised parties give these predator, “superior” boys the chance to get drunk and make their move. These parties are dangerous. In college they cannot be avoided.

    • Laurie Levy says:

      Like you, I am associating the word parties to Kavanaugh these days. A boy who is perpetually drunk at 17 is unlikely to become a man of fine character. I was not surprised that other women have come forth. Sad that the example of Anita Hill didn’t teach many of our politicians that men like this not not make good justices for SCOTUS.

  2. You’re a good mom! The daughters will thank you (if not already). I used to make kids write letters to remind them and clarify any confusion, by their own words, to realize where each mis-step was taken, because so often, being that the generations are so different, the mentalities, they really do not understand. But when in their own words, by their own thoughts put into print, they get it, they can see. My mother-in-law too, helping young juveniles avoid the complicated court systems, acted as a mediator on a panel of ladies and made them write essays. Who knows? These could be tomorrow’s great writers, each kid who accidentally lands a wrong step.

  3. John Zussman says:

    I admire the way you tell this story with sympathy for your teenage daughter yet thoroughly from the point of view of a parent, like how neither she nor you learned from the first incident, so you had to endure the second. There are great lines and images as well, such as rats abandoning a sinking ship and the condom in your guest bedroom. (Which makes me wonder: used or unused? Maybe best not to know.) I also like the way you relate your daughter’s experience to Brett Kavanaugh’s actions. I wish he had learned the lessons your daughter did.

  4. Suzy says:

    Fabulous story, Laurie! As others have said, the lessons learned, by both you and your daughter, are so important. I love your comment that “these girls had already fooled me once, so shame on me.” But who would think it would happen again? I’m so relieved to realize that my kids never did anything like this, because I don’t think I would have handled it as well as you did. And of course teen parties right now make one immediately think of Brett Kavanaugh and how much worse it could have been!.

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