One thing I have noticed over the last several years of being a mother is this: your kids always want to know where you are. From the first child I ingrained into them that they must always tell me where THEY are. They could go play anywhere in the neighborhood as long as they told me where they were going next. If they were switching to another friend's house they would either come tell me or call me before they would go. My oldest was so good at this task that the other children naturally followed suit.
I only had one child who really pushed the boundaries of this rule once. She had gone next door to visit a neighbor who's children were all gone but loved for little visitors to come calling. I realized she was missing from the house and sent the my oldest and his friends out to see if they could find her. 30 minutes had gone by and we had gone to every house on the block asking if they'd seen her. Nobody had seen her. I am usually a pretty level-headed person even in situations like that one but after 30 minutes of her missing I was starting to feel the panic rise. I had just headed into the house to call the police when one of the neighbor kids came to my house and announced they had found her next door. We had knocked on the door but no one had answered. I yelled at her and explained why I was so upset then sent her back out to play. Whew! Crisis averted.
I bought our first cell phone 8 or 9 years ago. It is a dinosaur compared to what we have now and the plan was terrible. This was back when no one gave out their cell phone numbers except for emergencies as they were still so expensive to use. Cell phones are a wonderful invention. They allow us to be able to get in touch with anybody at almost any time. They allow us mothers to go to the grocery store by ourselves and not have to worry about leaving the kids home for a minute in their own care. (Come on. You know you have all done it at least once.)
The day our oldest turned 12 we never hired another babysitter again. The hubs and I would go out to eat, go shopping, go here and there together--without the children--and never have to worry. We left for longer and longer amounts of time because we both had cell phones and the kids could call to bitch about each other at will. It was almost like we were still right there. We bought our oldest daughter a cell phone, then our oldest son. We could get in touch with them at any time through talk or text. These conveniences are nice but it makes it so we spend more and more time apart because we can connect electronically.
Last night the hubs and I went to see a movie and then out to a late dinner. We were driving home, about 5 minutes away from the house when my phone rang. It was our youngest. He said, "Mom? Where are you?" I told him. Then, "When are you coming home?" I told him.
When I got off the phone I mentioned to my husband that kids always want to know where their parents are. Even I, as an adult, want to know where my parents are. Each one of them has a cell phone and up until a month ago a house phone, too. There are time when I will call my mom's cell phone and get no answer. Then I'll call my dad's cell phone to ask where she is. No answer. Then I would call their home phone. If there was no answer then I would naturally assume they were both dead. Because that is the most natural conclusion to draw.
When one of them finally call me back I usually say, "Oh good. You're not dead." Then I ask "Where were you?" It's my right to know. I made them parents. It makes me happy to know the location of my parents.
All of my kids no matter how old they are will call me if I'm not home when they get home from school. "Mom? Where are you? When are you coming home?" I let them know and they seem to feel better about that.
You know, you'd think they'd be more excited to see me when I walked through the door. But usually all they really want to know is, "What's for dinner?"