26 April 2011

"(I've Got a Gal In) Kalamazoo"


Cam spent Easter weekend with his girlfriend's father (and his family - her parents are divorced) in Kalamazoo. Since we have no family connections locally, and holidays aren't really celebrated, I have always been supportive of Cam spending time with other families on holidays.

He left Thursday night.

There was a lot of planning and re-planning of this trip. Originally, Cam's girlfriend's mom (who usually drives half way there, meeting her ex and exchanging the kids) wasn't going to have enough room in her car to take Cam, so Cam was going to take METRA into the city, then Amtrak to Kalamazoo. I was concerned about him making the trip alone, primarily because I couldn't seem to get any adult to commit to picking him up/dropping him off at the train station.

I should have listened to my gut.

Thursday morning I learned that Cam's girlfriend's mom was going to drive them - meeting her ex at the half-way point and exchanging the kids. It was a relief. Cam has made this trip in the past without issue. I was relieved this trip would be the same.

Fast forward to Sunday afternoon. I get a phone call from Cam. He starts by saying, "Did Brenda (the girlfriend's mom) call you?"

I knew this wasn't going to be good.

The story was that he just learned they (Cam, his girlfriend (14), his girlfriend's sister (19) and her BF (19)) had no ride home. Brenda had a change of heart and now wasn't willing to drive half-way to pick up the kids. Cam's girlfriend's dad didn't have the money for gas to make the entire trip.

I needed to buy Cam an Amtrak ticket to get him from Kalamazoo to Chicago (Brenda would cover the cost of the tickets for the other 3 kids), then they would take METRA from Chicago to Podunk.


After pulling Amtrak fare out of my ass, and demanding that someone cover the $6 METRA fare back out to Podunk (Cam had given the $50 cash I sent with him to his girlfriend's father to help out with groceries), arrangements were made for Cam to travel back with the other 3 kids ... on Monday night (Cam had school Monday) ... arriving home at 2AM Tuesday.

And not so much as a courtesy phone call from either parent (although I was able to confirm Cam's story with his girlfriend's father after I tracked him down hours later).


To say I was livid would be an understatement. I was grateful for the listening ear of a friend, and the common sense to know that calling Brenda at that moment (or any moment for that matter) was a bad idea.

Cam walked in the door at 2:25 this morning.

He will be going to school today.

He won't be going to Kalamazoo again any time soon.



Joker_SATX said...

I am at a loss as to what the responsibility of parents...as parents is becoming.

I am glad to see that Cam made it home safe...

Matt-Man said...

Unbelieveable. Cheers Dana!!

Baseball Mom said...

I am speechless.

Glad he made it home safe.

Mandy said...

How incredibly irresponsible of "Brenda". Wow. I don't blame you for being livid. I would have been fuming! So glad he is home safe and sound.

Raquel's World said...

I have to say when I read the second paragraph I knew it was a bad idea. I have a 15 year old and would not trust him to go that far and ride a train etc. But then again I trust no teen!
No onto Brenda- I would have to address Brenda. I wouldn't be able to refrain. Among other things I would be dying to know how she reached the decision to pay for everyones ticket back except my son especially when my son had chipped in with his money already. Ugggh.
Definitely file away Brenda's parenting for future reference and maybe next year throw together a lil something at your house, that way you can keep Cam as close to home and safe as you can.
One more note, the fact that neither parent called you speaks volumes about them. Hopefully Cam will find a different girlfriend with a more reliable family soon.

Karen said...

Crazy. At least Cam had "adults" with him in the sister and her bf. That would make me feel a little better. I guess lesson learned for you when dealing with the girlfriend's parents.

Desert Rat said...

My jaw just dropped - I mean, really?! WTF?! How could "Brenda" just abandon those kids!? Grrrrrrr!

Jay said...

That's just unreal. People never cease to amaze me.

Dana said...

Joker_SATX, I am too! It's one thing to "abandon" your own kid, but someone else's kid too??

Matt-Man, Pretty much! It's not like they were an hour away ...

Baseball Mom, I'm not speechless ... I've got more than a few choice words just waiting to escape!

Dana said...

Mandy, I'm trying to focus on the fact that he *did* make it home safe, but I'll be far more cautious in the future!

Raquel's World, Had we not had a history of these visits going on without a problem, I'd have likely listen a little more to my gut instinct. Lesson learned ...

Karen, Yes, it could have been a far worse experience than it was.

Dana said...

Desert Rat, Trust me, I wondered the same thing. I wasn't even sure I could get Cam on Amtrak as he had no photo ID and is only 15. As it turned out, Amtrak has provisions for that ... thank goodness!

Jay, it might have been a little different if these kids were "city" kids ... familiar with using public transportation ... aware of the world outside of Podunk. I'm not sure what to think about either parent in this situation!

Mike said...

I tsounds like Cam passed an important life test here. Good going Cam.

Sujomi said...

Glad he made it home safely...I hope his girlfriend doesn't take after her mother when it comes to responsibility!

Vol-E said...

I guarantee the girl's parents would have moved heaven and earth to get her home safely -- but they figured, hey, he's a teenage boy, he'll be fine on his own. Terrible, terrible sexism. Shame on them.

Maggie said...

Wow. Just...wow.

Positive- Cam showed the effects of good parenting. Yay Cam! Yay you!

Negative- What the shit kind of parents DO that? My parents were always EXTRA careful when they were charged with children that were not their own, not LESS responsible.