I think I may have made a parenting boo boo. I overreacted.
Last night I left my newish iPhone with my eleven year old son while I went to a meeting. He and some friends were working in a science project and he was going to talk to his friends while I was working but he accidentally Facetime’d the wrong number.
I didn’t think anything of the random middle of the night phone call. After all, things happen. I did notice however that the same number called around noon, notifying me that someone was texting inappropriate things from my phone. Then he hung up.
What? I called back to apologize, to ask exactly what was happening but he hung up again.
And rightfully so, would you want to talk to someone who was harassing you?
Then my mind started thinking the absolute worst. Who was this person and why would anyone want to call someone at two in the morning?
I was absolutely terrified. Had my son shared personal information like our address or our names? Did he send pictures? Did this caller send pictures? What did this caller know about us?
I drove to our cellular service provider after that phone call and explained my situation in tears. I felt terrible for our youngest. Poor kindergartener watching Mommy cry over something her brother did. The guy who helped me listened and tried to make me feel better. He had heard worse.
Nope. Didn’t make me feel better.
I called my husband, three time zones away, who is dealing with his own issues for advice. I cried again, promising to never leave the big bad Internet alone with our children ever again, wishing he were here, right here, to help me figure out what to do. Why was I jumping to these conclusions? Wouldn’t you assume the worst to keep your children safe?
My husband’s suggestion? Grill him. Put the fear of God in him. Make him tell the truth, after all, I would know if he was lying.
I did exactly that. Tears from both of us fell. I told him that I wanted to make sure he didn’t give our info away. He adamantly denied sending or doing anything inappropriate.
Later my brother came over and when this caller (who may have been accidentally dialed again– ugh, I know!) tried to call again, my brother answered and straight out said, “Stop calling!” and yelling ensued.
I saved the number, assigning it the label “DO NOT ANSWER” and choosing the silent mode should this caller decide to bother me once more. This situation has made me so nuts that I feel physically ill and have decided not to go to work tomorrow.
But what makes me feel lower than pond scum is the fact that now my son knows that I do not trust him.
And he is crushed.
I don’t know how to even begin to fix what I have done in these hours of stress, anxiety, tears, and stomach cramps. Most of the pain had subsided once I came to the conclusions that I am 99.99% sure nothing inappropriate happened yesterday and that I will change my number first thing in the morning.
But knowing that I have hurt my son with the best intentions in mind doesn’t feel like it will ever go away.