When my younger daughter was in the second grade, she came home from school very excited one day. Her best friend Becky was having a birthday party and she was invited. “Can I go?”, she asked. I told her she could and that I would call Becky’s mom get the time and direction. “You can’t call her though; she doesn’t have phone. I know how to get there. Remember I rode the bus to her house last week and her mom brought me home.”
“Are you sure you know how to get there?”
“Yes,” came the answer with an attitude.
The party is next Saturday at 2 o’clock. We did the birthday thing. Andrea carefully picked out her outfit. It was very important, at that age, to be appropriately dressed. We got a gift, wrapped it, and purchased a card. The day of the party arrived. Once again, I asked, “Are you sure you know how to get there?”
“Yes Mom,” she answered again with a larger attitude than the first time I had asked. We took off. When we came to an intersection, “Go that way,” she said. After quite a few miles I asked her, “Are you sure we are on the correct road? And are you sure you will recognize her house?” “Yes, it looks like Fred Flintstone’s house.” This is when I knew we had a problem. Exactly what does Fred Flintstone’s house look like? Is it next to a quarry guarded by Dino? How do I ask for help to locate it? Andrea assured me that we were on the right road and the house was just a little bit further down the road. We drove on. Finally, we came to a house with quite a few cars in the yard. I drove in and parked. I just knew we had arrived. I knocked on the door which was answered by an elderly gentleman who assured me there had been no children living there for quite a few years. Back on the road again (I was beginning to feel like Willie Nelson) we continued our search. By this time, we had been on the road for almost an hour. I was getting frustrated and quite impatient. I was mostly angry at myself for trusting an eight-year old to know how to get somewhere we had never been before. I finally told her that if we didn’t find the house in the next ten minutes we were turning around and going home as we were almost in the next county. I was frustrated and at a loss as to what to do. I also felt very sorry for my daughter. She was devastated as Becky was her best friend at the time. Around the next corner, Andrea sat up and yelled, “There it is!”
“Are you sure?” I asked. What she had described as a Fred Flintstone house was a small bungalow with faux stone veneer.
“Yes.” She answered excitedly. We pulled into the driveway and eight little girls ran to the car excited that we were there. “It is so late that I thought you weren’t coming,” said Becky.
I learned my lesson. I will never again rely on a child to be in charge of directions. But I didn’t actually learn my lesson because not many years later (older but obviously not wiser), Andrea and I set out to go to a surprise birthday party for my older daughter who lived in North Carolina. The only directions we had were to get off 95, go about five miles until we came to a small town named Leggett. It was an Ostrich farm. One would think it would be easy to find. Not! Once again, we made it but in a very untimely amount of time. The question is, “have I finally learned my lesson?