Up on My Roof

That's a chip off the block!

I was watching the video of my daughter’s birth with her a few days ago, and wondered where all the time has gone.

My daughter is now 24, and my son is 13. He was laughing at the whole video. As she has become the exact opposite of what I’d seen in her youth. She was extremely shy and afraid of any attention. My son is completely different.

Yes, my daughter was literally afraid of her own shadow. I still laugh as I recount the story; she was pointing at the ground and screaming as she kept running away from something. I thought it was a bug. I grabbed her into my arms, and she kept pointing as I tried to set her down again. She screamed and lifted her feet. As I finally realized, it was her shadow, which terrified her. I said, “That’s your shadow, honey. Look.” And I tried to show her my own, and how it moved with my body and the sun. She was crying, as she pointed and yelled, “No tadow! No!” I just couldn’t stop laughing as I thought, I truly have a ‘scaredy cat’ on my hands.

I told her, I had the same problem, when I was very young. I was extremely shy. I had a teacher write to my mother, on one report card, that I was a good student, but I was very shy. I assumed it was because of all the trauma I had experienced in my young life, already. It wasn’t until 7th grade, that I really started to come out of my shell.

I assured my daughter that one day this would happen for her as well. But, she now, sometimes, I wish she would stay in it!

The other day, I was just returning from an early doctors appointment. A little irritated with my daughter, as she hadn’t come home until about 3am. She works late, and hangs out with her friends sometimes. Yes, I know, she’s 24, but she still lives in my house. And I always had the belief, when you’re in your parents home, you abide by their rules.

As I began to drive up to my house, I looked up, and much to my surprise, I saw someone on my roof. “Wait,” I thought. “I do have a contractor coming over.” Then as I tried to make sense the thought process, was as follows; I don’t remember telling him to come over. I just said, to call me. I don’t know what he’d be doing on my roof, as my work is kitchen related. And why is my daughter up there with him?”

Ok, I didn’t even make it into the driveway, as I realized, this is my daughter and a guy she knows. Someone whom, I’ve never met. And as she was trying to scootch down, she realized, she’s busted. The guy was sitting with a cigarette in his hand, and he was clearly scared.

I stopped, car running, as I wasn’t even in my parking place, and stepped out, as I said, “what the hell, are you doing on my roof?!” Yes, I was mad, and I said, “Both of you get down here right now!”

I was fuming. I waited at the foot of my stairs at what seemed to take a while. I yelled again, “Get down here! Both of you!”It was obvious, they were scrambling to get a story together.

They both come down, and I say, “Could you please tell me who you are, and what you’re doing on my roof, besides, smoking?” The guy looked pretty young. But he was very cute. He had a muscular build and was extremely polite. He took off the baseball cap he was wearing and said, “I’m so sorry maam. My name is Mike.” “No!” I continued, “There’s no shaking! You tell me what you’re doing in my house and up on my roof!”

“Yes, maam. Your daughter picked me up this morning. I meant to introduce myself, but you weren’t home. ” “Oh, really? So do you just skip the introductions and go right up to a persons roof?” “No maam,” he said. “It was very disrespectful.” He then placed his hat on his head, and removed it again. “I’m sorry. I shouldn’t put my hat on.” I thought how humorous this was, in spite of how angry I was at the time. He was more worried about having his hat on, and showing disrespect, than the way we actually met each other.

“Listen,” I said. “I blame my daughter, more than you. Most decent people come to the door, to meet each other. ” “Yes, maam. but it was my fault. I asked to go up there.” “Yes, but my daughter knows that this isn’t acceptable. ”

Now my daughter said, “mom, I need to drop him off at home. ” “Oh no you don’t!” I said. I’ll be the one dropping him off!” I told them both to get into the car. As I continued my rant. The guy was trying desperately to find favor. I assumed he saw my ring, with the Superman logo on it. As he pointed to his arm and said, “Mam, I just got this tatoo.” It was a huge ‘S,’ on his bicep. My daughter told me later, she wished she could tell him to shutup, as she knows, I hate tattoos. Then he continued, “I’m going into the military, mam. I’m hoping to get into the Special Forces.” “Oh, really?” Well, you won’t make Special Forces, if you keep pulling stunts like this.” Then I turned to my daughter, “Why don’t you do that?” “Oh no mam. You don’t want her to do join the military.” “Yes, I think it would be a good idea,” I said.

Then I end up dropping him off at his mother’s complex. But before going through the security gate, he says, “You can just drop me off right here. I can jump over the wall.” “What in the world?” I said, Haven’t you ever heard of a front door?”

He laughed as he put his hand out, one more time to shake and apologized, over and over again. This time I shook his hand, and told him to stay out of trouble. “Yes, maam,” he said.

I questioned my daughter about this all the way home. “He’s just a friend.” She said. He’s only 19, and he just celebrated his birthday. I talked to him this morning, and he asked to come hang out. I went to pick him up and wasn’t sure where you were or when you were getting home. But I knew you’d be home soon. I just didn’t think we’d be up there when you got home. “Yea, well it would have been just as bad to see the guy parading out of your room!” I said.

Then, as if it would buffet my anger, she said. I don’t know if you ever heard of it, but he’s into ‘parkore.‘ That’s where they jump off roofs and stuff. So when he saw ours, he said, “Oh, that is so cool. Can I go up there?” I told him he could, but knew if you came home and saw us,you’d be mad. “Yes, I am! You should have told him to go jump off someone elses roof!” I said.

“Why wouldn’t I be angry?” I said. “First of all, it’s outside your bedroom. Secondly, I’ve never met the guy. And lastly, he’s smoking. Not to mention the liability. However, I was impressed with his polite manner,” I said. He sure seemed to have better manners than that last douche you went out with.” And I had to think about it. That guy made a point of coming over to meet me and was very nervous about it. As I began to ask him questions, I realized I didn’t care for him, since our first meeting. Even though it seemed he was going through all the motions of the polite, meeting the mother, routine. As I analyzed some of the responses to the questions, I thought, he seemed shady. As it turned out, I was spot on, in my assessment.

My mom used to refer to these kind of guys as, Eddie Haskell’s. You remember the guy from Leave It To Beaver. He acted as sickeningly sweet, and would turn around and bully Beaver, as soon as Mrs. Cleaver left the room. I still remember her words, upon meeting friends of ours, “He/She’s nothing but an Eddie Haskell!” Since most of my friends, were pastor’s kids, she was usually right.

Yet, this guy in all of his silliness, seemed funny and rather innocent. Even though he was trespassing on my roof. In his mind it was a perfectly normal experience.

“Mom, I’m not interested in this guy. He’s only a friend.He’s way too young and I met him through my other friends. He came here from Arizona and wanted to visit his friends.

I went up to her room with her to continue my speech. I can’t even say, I sounded like my own mother, as my mother never set any rules in our home. As I looked around her room, I realized was a mess it was. “I asked, how could you let anyone into this room?” “Well,” she answered, that’s how you know I’m not interested in the guy.”

“You need to get your own place and then you can sit on your roof all you want.” I said. “I know. My girlfriend and I were just talking about that last night.” Well, on second thought,” I said. “I can just rent out a part of the roof. You can pitch a tent there. And I can rent out your bedroom. Tell your friend, Mike, that I can rent him a space too. Since he seems like a drifter. Then the song came to me. And it was written by, The Drifters. Up on the Roof. Hmm, how appropriate, I thought.

As I started thinking about it, I realized. It’s not a half-bad, idea. AS I shared the story with a woman at work, she laughed so hard, she was nearly crying. “Oh, I don’t think it’s so bad.” She said. Then I was sharing with some others and it was funny to me, to see how the men, always mentioned the potential liability, and the women always found it humorous. Which makes me think, there were a whole lot of girls, who have done things like this. They seemed to be reaching back into the archives for flashbacks.

Then I called my daughter later. She had spread the story to all of her friends. I’m somewhat of an urban legend, among her friends. What with the last guy, and this latest incident. She told me her friend Emily, has always been afraid of me. And now as she shared the story, she said, her eyes opened wide and she said, “Wow, your mom’s really scary!” My daughter said, “Well, you know how they talk about dad’s with their daughters? My mom is 10 times worse!”

I cracked up about this. Then I thought, “Am I overreacting?” But I had a brief stint living with my father, when I was a young adult. But it was accepted, his house, his rules.¬†Adult or not.

I spoke with my son later, and said, “Hey, I found a guy sitting with your sister on the roof this morning.” “Who was he?” he asked. “I have no idea,” I said. And then I thought about it, as my anger subsided. I laughed as I said to my daughter. Hey, I’ve been single for years, and was so concerned about bringing a guy over to the house. But I’ve never done this, let alone invited him to sit on the roof with me. Maybe, I’m just jealous!” We both laughed at that.