My son and I were going to Bloomington, Indiana via Indianapolis for his audition for the Jacobs School of Music. Aside from a brief panicky scare when we realized three hours before leaving the house that he’d lost all his music (he had) (we downloaded all of it from the hand-dandy-interwebs in a sanity-saving half-hour) we got out of the house and to the airport without a hitch.
We made it through security and got our shoes back on with enough time to eat dinner in an actual sit-down restaurant. No less than two servers at the restaurant asked my 18-year old son if he wanted a drink menu. This made him giggle and made me fearful that he would be the guy in his freshman dorm next year sent out to try the local liquor stores to buy cheap vodka for parties.
By the time we got done eating, it was time to go to the gate. We pottied up and got in line. I asked my son, “Where’s your boarding pass?”
“You have it.”
“I most certainly do not. I gave it to you so you could get through security.”
He looked through his pockets, his wallet, his entire backpack and his suitcase. We did find some random bottles of sunscreen in an outside pocket of our carryon suitcase leftover from a previous trip that TSA missed. Oops. He could not find it. His normally pale face was even whiter than normal. “What do we do?”
I marched up to the gate agent. Without introduction I said, “My idiot son lost his boarding pass between security and here.”
The gate agent, a middle-aged woman, gave me a look that peered deeply into my soul. “He’s not an idiot. No more an idiot than everyone else, anyway. He’s like the 20th person today. Let me see your ID.” I gave her my ID, and as I called for my son in a loud, you’re-in-trouble-voice for him to get his butt over here, she printed out a new boarding pass and handed it over.
I gave it to my son and said, “DO NOT LOSE THIS.”
We got in line and got on board amidst a gaggle of cheerleaders who were heading to Indianapolis for a tournament. The amount of spirit on that plane was so thick you could tie it into over-sized bows.
I had about 36 hours in which I could give my son non-stop grief about losing every important thing he touched until I went to pay for brunch Sunday morning and could not find my credit card. It was more annoying than disastrous since I had a backup and enough cash to get by. We figured out that I had left it at the place we had dinner the night before and shuffled our southern souls through 11-degree weather to the restaurant to retrieve it. There it was, safe and sound and tucked away in the cash register.
“You can’t make fun of me anymore,” Jacob said.
“Yes, I can.”
“But we both lost things!”
“Yes, but I’m your mother, and I paid for this trip, and I’m paying for college, so I bought the right to make fun of you.”
He wrapped a scarf around his sour face before heading out into the Indiana cold. He didn’t like the truth, but he’s smart enough to know that college loans might kill him if he pushes his luck too far.
I might be just as forgetful, but I’m older and wiser and have more money in the bank.
 This lead to the speculative conversation, “Imagine what would have happened if this had occurred in 1988 when I was doing all of this and there was no such thing as downloading and printing out.” “You had printers, right?” “No, baby, there were no such thing as home printers in 1988. Your average person did not have access to a printer in 1988. That was not a thing.” “But how did you….?” “You didn’t. You went to a store and you bought stuff.” “But….?” “Right. Life was hard. We survived somehow.”
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