ON THE SAME PAGE

Remember taking a child to a party and then, somewhere on the other side of midnight, picking them up again.

Sound familiar? It does to me.

That's because on the stroke of midnight last Saturday night I found myself sitting in an idling car outside a suburban house waiting for my daughter, the Boomerang Child, to emerge.

As I sat and yawned i couldn't help but recall I'd been here before. Literally, in fact.

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Let me explain.

Like many teenagers, Boomerang Child had a good squad of mates who did the primary school, intermediate together and then tackled the delights of high school life and all it entailed.

And like most teens they were always organising some get together.

Naturally the family wagon was pressed into service as a taxi most weekends, we grown ups following the unwritten but somehow telepathic Parents Code which states:
"You take them this week and I'll do the next."

And it worked.

Kids were ferried to and from parties and delivered safely home without incident.

Then they got older. The opposite sex was discovered. Alcohol entered the picture.

And for some odd reason they thought we didn't know what they got up to. Presumably because they figure we had always been old(er).

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Anyway.

Going to the parties was usually okay, even if the occasional chink of a hidden bottle in a bag (they never worried about taking food or anything else) did somewhat give their intentions away.

But picking them up was a bit of an eye opener as we waited. And waited.

For a start there was always some drama and somebody's Little Angel would be outside crying or screaming or both because 'Josh" had said or done something to/with someone.

Apparently it also was/is the done thing to yell goodbye at the top of your lungs, even if the rest of the world is asleep dreaming of a Sunday lay in.

And then there was that little cherub you remember from kindy who simply didn't care if Dad's best mate was watching and had to pash the brains out of some dodgy kid with a baseball cap on backwards in the driveway.

The Driving Dad rules required you to be invisible, close your ears and refrain from commenting on discussion about the night's activities for fear of embarrassing one's own child but many is the time the drop off round has turned into an uncomfortably long journey as various, er, experiences were solemnly outlined.

That's also before the boyfriend, who by now seemed to be constantly attached like a limpet, was also given a ride home.

It still amazes me to this day how some of these young men who couldn't string much more than a grunt together in conversation were routinely regarded as the greatest thing since sliced bread, or, as in the vernacular of the day: "Oh my god! Josh is soooo hot!".

Anyway. We all get older don't we.

So last Saturday night we fast forward 12 years or so and there I am outside this familiar house.

Boomerang Child and Builder Boy are staying with us for the night and they have gone to a reunion party for one of her old squad, now married and living overseas, who has returned home for a visit with her new husband.

It's at her parent's home, the scene of many a function all those years before.

And I'm thinking how times have changed.

Besides a nice bottle of wine, they took a nice salad in a large bowl.

They dressed nice. There wasn't a baseball cap on backwards in sight.

The evening had been enjoyable, they said as they got into the car. The wine was smooth and the salad had gone down a treat.

The big topic wasn't how hot 'Josh' was but whether a movie mogul in the US was guilty of molesting various starlets. Mortgages had also been discussed.

As I drove off it occurred to me times had certainly changed.

Then just to prove it wasn't all different I heard a female scream at the top of her lungs.

Running up the driveway after us was the hostess.

For a moment i thought Josh had re-emerged and done something silly but I needn't have worried.

It seems the biggest drama of this grown up occasion was the fact they'd left the salad bowl behind.

■ Kevin Page is a teller of tall tales with a firm belief too much serious news gives you frown lines. Feel free to share stories to kevin.page@nzme.co.nz