“I opened the door to let Camryn and her friend in from the yard and two dogs and a goat followed them in,” my friend Amy said to me matter-of-factly when we were talking on the phone the other day. I decided Two Dogs and a Goat would be a great band name, in addition to being a phrase that says a lot about modern parenting.
Truth be told, Amy has a mini-farm, so it’s not out of the realm of possibility that goats might be walking through her kitchen at any given moment. What this made me think about was the completely unpredictable state of being we live in as parents. We honestly never know who is coming through the door next or what we are going to be called on to do.
I usually learn about my older daughter’s plans a few minutes before they happen.
“We’re going to the movies,” she tells me casually. This always makes me smile as "we" indicates teenagers who don’t drive and need to be ferried around by their parents. Yet "we" have made plans without consulting our parents who are clearly an integral part of the equation.
“What movie, what time, who’s going?” I ask, ticking through all of the possible questions in my mind as I jump ahead to my younger daughter’s dance schedule and my adult plans. God forbid I would even dare to make those.
“When might you know?”
My younger daughter is a big fan of planning sleepovers with other 11-year-olds without any parental intervention.
“We’re having a sleepover Friday night,” she tells me one afternoon.
“Well, what’s her mother’s name? Do you have her cell phone number?”
“Hmmm, no. But I guess I could get it.”
“That would be nice.”
Basically, any weekends we don’t have a dance competition or a volleyball tournament, we are on standby to take them to their social engagements, re-adjusting our schedules to meet their needs. I never know exactly who I am taking where, or who will be spending the night where, but somehow it all works out.
There’s a knock on the door and teenagers show up with overnight bags, waving to a mom making her getaway out of my driveway in an SUV. We smile and wave knowing the next knock might just be two dogs and a goat …
Amanda is the mom of two, a reporter for WRAL-TV and the author of several books including some on motherhood. Find her here on Mondays.