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Rebuilding Trust: What Happens After a Mom Shows Up to a Party in Her PJ’s

One of the most popular columns Your Teen has ever run is “When a Mom Shows Up at a Party in Her PJsin which social manager Mindy Gallagher had a suspicion her then-teenage-son wasn’t telling her the truth, and busted him at a party. Over the years, parents have often asked what happened next, and how Mindy and her son repaired their relationship. Well, wonder no further. Here is … the rest of the story!

Murphy’s Law is the idea that “What can happen, will happen,” or more appropriately in this scenario, “What can go wrong, will go wrong.” My friends and I have taken to blaming the small inconveniences in our lives to Murphy’s Law. We often share a good laugh after looking at one another when something bad happens. We just say “Yep, Murphy’s Law.” There really is no better example of this idea than that fateful Friday night five years ago.

I had taken all the necessary precautions. My voice was calm and steady when I asked if I could go to my girlfriend’s house. I made it sound as routine as possible, like the many times I had asked before. I didn’t rush out the door to reveal any extraordinary excitement. I even turned left out of the driveway when I needed to turn right to go to my friend’s house. I thought I was a genius.

Rebuilding Trust

Those proud feelings I had for myself came crashing down when I walked outside and found my Mom staring flames into my soul in the middle of my friend’s driveway. When I first got the text asking me to check for her wallet in my car, it felt off to me. Something in my head went off and said, “Something isn’t right, why would she ask me to go outside right this moment and check?” I quickly shook off the feeling and told myself I was being crazy. So I went to my car to check.

There are few things in my life I remember more clearly than the image of my Mom standing there in the driveway. Her arms were crossed, and the streetlight behind her made her appear as a dark silhouette. Honestly it was completely and utterly terrifying. I begged her not to go inside. Please, Mom, I pleaded, just let me drive my car home. I don’t think I’ve experienced a moment where I’ve felt as ashamed as I did that night.

Earning Trust Back

In the following weeks, my parents made it my responsibility to earn their trust back. When my Dad got home from his business trip, I sat down with both of them to talk about the whole incident. My Mom, while explaining how I had demolished the level of trust between us, asked me how they were now supposed to know if I was ever really going where I said I was going. Rebuilding trust was a big issue.

Miraculously, a solution presented itself. Off the top of my head (and not really as a serious solution) I said I would send pictures of each place I went to when I arrived. I remember my Mom looking at my Dad for a second, surprised I had actually presented a viable answer to her question. They thought about it for a second and then agreed to the idea. For the next couple of months, I sent pictures to my Mom of restaurants, bowling alleys, the high school weight room, my friend’s basement, and a long list of other locations.

a lesson learned

As a teenager, I thought I could get away with anything.I thought I could maneuver my way around obstacles and make it up as I went along, building in little lie here and there to get by. That night taught me that eventually it all comes crashing down. It just was not worth it. I learned that I’d rather have my parents say no when I ask, than experience their disappointment in me when I lie.

Since that night, I have been more open with my parents when I want to do something or go somewhere. I think now, at the ripe and wise age of 21 (with surely no mistakes left to make), I realize that the sooner you show your parents you can have a mature, adult relationship that is built on trust, the better the relationship will be.

So many years later, that story always makes my Mom and me laugh. I know she thought she was the most badass mom in America that night. I will admit that it was an impressive and elaborate plan to form on the fly. But in the end, it’s just Murphy’s Law.

Ryan Gallagher

Ryan Gallagher is currently a student-athlete in the business school at Butler University Lacy School of Business. He is a marketing/finance major and the youngest of three boys.