A few days ago, the Oh So Feisty One told Smartmom that in just one week, she’d gone from being a “nice mom” to an OPP.
“An OPP? What’s an OPP?” Smartmom wondered.
“An over-protective parent,” OSFO replied.
“Where’d you hear that acronym?” she said.
“I made it up myself,” OSFO said.
Smartmom was proud. Her girl was making up cool acronyms. But she didn’t let on because this was serious business. There was a new regime on Third Street and unless OSFO started following some basic rules, Smartmom was going to become a Very Over Protective Parent.
It all started on the first day of school, when OSFO scared the bejesus out of her.
Here’s what happened: OSFO left to meet Luvbud at 8 in the morning for the first day of seventh grade.
But Smartmom didn’t hear from OSFO for the rest of the day.
There was no phone call or text at 3 pm to say that she was leaving school. Granted, OSFO had lost her cellphone on vacation in California and she hadn’t gotten a new one yet. But she was in the custom of using Luvbud’s phone to stay in touch.
And there was no call or text at 4 pm. And no call or text at 5 pm. But Smartmom wasn’t really worried. Yet. Last year, OSFO and her friends usually went to Barnes and Noble after school. But she never got home later than 5 pm.
When Smartmom got home from her therapy appointment at 6:30 pm, she fully expected OSFO to be doing her homework or Facebook in the living room. But no OSFO.
Smartmom was fit to be tied.
“It’s 6:30 and we don’t know where our daughter is,” she screamed at Hepcat.
Smartmom dialed Luvbud’s phone number, but it went straight to voicemail. Smartmom dialed Luvbud’s mother’s phone number, but it went straight to voicemail. She dialed Luvbud’s home number. But there was no answer. Anywhere.
Thoughts of ax murderers, rapists, muggers and kidnappers danced ominously in her head. At 7:30, she walked over to Luvbud’s house a few block away.
During the walk, Smartmom’s emotions catapulted from fear to anger to terror to fear in rapid succession. On Luvbud’s block, she ran all the way from Seventh Avenue to her brownstone near Sixth Avenue.
She rang Luvbud’s door and finally Luvbud came downstairs followed by OSFO.
Smartmom was relieved to see them, but before she could even appreciate the fact that her daughter hadn’t been murdered she was furious. She yanked her daughter’s arm and pulled her toward the front door.
“You are so grounded. How dare you not call me? What’s the matter with using the telephone?” she cried.
“I didn’t realize how late it was,” OSFO said.
“I didn’t know where you were and I thought something terrible had happened.” Smartmom screamed.
“Calm down, Mom,” OSFO said.
There’s nothing worse than being censured in front of your friends. Luvbud looked stunned. She’d never seen Smartmom angry before. Smartmom could tell that OSFO was embarrassed — and angry.
“I didn’t know what time it was,” she told Smartmom rolling her eyes.
“Yeah, right. You got out of school more than four hours ago,” Smartmom screamed.
“I didn’t realize how much time had passed,” she said.
Smartmom and OSFO walked home in an angry funk. When they got to the apartment, OSFO went straight to her room and slammed her door.
Later when she came out Smartmom laid down some basic ground rules for seventh grade.
“I am more than willing to let you be independent, but you must check in with me or your dad on a regular basis.
“Otherwise you ain’t going nowhere!”
Smartmom fumed for the rest of the night. She’d never had this problem with Teen Spirit in seventh grade. It wasn’t until he was in 10th grade that he started acting this way.
But OSFO seemed to be on an expedited timetable. She was spreading her wings and starting to fly. But it was imperative that she learn some basic rules — like, Call your mother.
So, OSFO’s right. Smartmom is an OPP. Maybe it did happen overnight, but you know what they say: necessity is the mother of invention.
The smart mom of invention, that is.
After all, even Lenore Skenazy, who let her 9-year-old kid ride the subway all by himself, would agree, no?
Smartmom didn’t need to be an OPP until OSFO started crossing the line.
And now Smartmom’s a VOPP. It’s a cute term. But OSFO better get used to it. This VOPP is here to stay!
Louise Crawford also writes the Web site, “Only the Blog Knows Brooklyn.”
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