Two of them are on Facebook now. Funny, but we never gave permission for that. We don’t allow Internet access at home when we’re not there. We spot check their cell phones and bedrooms. And I regularly Google all of my kids.
And still, they got by me.
It makes me wonder what else they’re up to.
I ran Norton Internet Security on the computer one day and sat while it checked through the 300 and some odd thousand files on the hard drive. Played a little solitaire. Tried to blend in to the background and hide for a while.
My attention was pulled from my game when my trained eye caught some of the files as they flashed by. “Girl on Girl.” “Hot Lesbians.” “Big Boobs.”
My first thought was to wonder what my husband had been up to lately.
Then I focussed on the user account. Having just officially crossed over into middle age, I felt my first heart palpitation as I digested the name of the offending downloader.
I was definitely not ready for this. Not ready for him to be this good with the computer. Not ready for this level of dodgy secrecy. Not ready for that safely theoretical talk about S-E-X to become a reality.
The files flashed on. I tried to breathe.
He walked by.
“Hey,” I said easily, scaring myself a little with some impressive, calm, cool steel in my voice. “Wanna see something interesting?”
“Sure,” he said happily, as he pulled up a chair and dropped into it, leaning comfortably on my shoulder.
“Do you know what cookies are?” I asked.
He perked up, “Why, do we have any?”
I explained, that the computer saves little pieces of information every time we visit a web site so that the next time we’re there, it can find what we’re after faster.
“Look at this,” I pointed to the flashing file names on the screen.
He leaned forward, just into my peripheral line of vision. I saw his face darken with recognition. He was embarrassed.
“Yeah,” he ventured, not sure where this was going.
“Sure,” he guessed.
“Now look at this.” I moved my finger over to point out the name of the user.
Understanding punched him firmly and solidly just below the ribs. Sitting so close to him, I felt it.
His head dropped, chin to chest, eyes closed.
Thankfully, he took a moment to try to regain some composure. A moment I badly needed as I realized my little bundle of joy had discovered new toys.
No, I wasn’t ready.
I explained again, for the hundredth time, that no matter what he does, he WILL get caught. And he’d better be prepared for that. There is ALWAYS someone watching. And he’d better be careful not to find himself on the defensive side of a very nasty situation.
I let him go, and he left quickly. I didn’t see him for a few days after that. At least not the front of him. And then when he was ready to deal with me again, it was still weeks before we made eye contact.
That was just as well. He would never believe this, but I was certainly, infinitely more embarrassed than he could have possibly been.
I told his father. I prepared him as best I could for the inappropriate behaviour of his boy. I tried to soften the impact I had felt; I worried about his middle-aged heart.
Again, it was me who was taken by surprise as Dad whooped loudly, evidently relieved about something, then calmly collected himself and promised to password the crap out of the computer.
I guess gone is the day that we find Playboy magazine under a bed.
In the end, I learned a lot.
I learned that my kids are going to grow up whether I want them to or not. Whether I’m ready or not.
I learned that the fact that they think they are smarter than me is fast becoming a reality. (I did not say wiser….)
And I learned that if I don’t stay on top of them, they will slip too far away, and I won’t be able to catch them. It’s okay to drop the bar of soap in the shower, so long as it stays in the tub. It’s when it flies up and over the curtain rod to slide to some rarely cleaned corner behind the toilet that you have to worry.
So we’re Facebook friends now. And I still Google them weekly. And we text each other like crazy. (Ah, the cell phone – that’s a topic for another time…)
And in the end, it’s me that has to keep up with them.
They’re not going to wait.