“The Pussy Riot” by Kari Lynn Collins

This story appears in the anthology “Not Your Mother’s Book…On Being a Parent.” 

Yeah, you read that story title right: “The Pussy Riot.”

Last Wednesday, I drove my grown son, Tom, to the Oklahoma City airport and said goodbye as he left for his new home—and new life—as a grad student in Boston.

I’m not sure, but I think he bought my excuse when I told him my eyes were watering due to an unfortunate accident with tear gas and shampoo that morning. At any rate, he made it to Boston unscathed and I stopped crying about an hour later.

I raised my children in a small town where they could get gas for their car at the local convenience store when they were in high school and tell the clerk I’d be in to pay for it tomorrow. The clerk would say OK. It was a simple, comfortable upbringing.

When Tom told me he’d gotten an offer he couldn’t refuse from the University of Massachusetts Boston, I began to realize thatUmass logo the time had come for me to be his personal pantywaist. At 6-feet tall and just over 200 pounds, Tom was an offensive lineman and competitive power lifter in high school, so he could take care of himself. But it’s my job as a mother to worry about things that will most likely never happen. And, to be unreasonably upset when I think someone has hit him in the head, stolen his cellphone and started answering my texts.

But I’m getting ahead of myself.

Tom and I had been communicating quite a lot Wednesday, Thursday and Friday, me trying to help him get settled in, cross-country. Or more likely, him letting me feel like I was still needed.

I hadn’t heard from him at all Saturday, so around 10 a.m., I called him. Voice mail. Called him again at 11:30. Voice mail. Finally, 2 p.m. rolled around and I decided that I would make him talk to me using his favorite form of communication.

So I texted him.

Me: “Hey Bub, you OK?”

And finally, a sign of life.

Tom: “Yeah, I’m volunteering at a Pussy Riot benefit put on by a punk feminist organization and can’t talk right now. Literally.”

What? Really?! I screamed to myself. What son would text his mother a message like that and not think she would have scenarios in her head of his abduction and the kidnappers toying with her emotions via text message?

Me: “I have no idea what you’re talking about. Who are you and where is my son? Is this Tom?”

7-1  Collins, Kari The Pussy Riot

The actual text between Kari and her son

Tom: “Yep. Google ‘pussy riot.’ ”

To be fair, Tom thinks Googling is the quickest answer for most everything. Most kidnappers wouldn’t know that. I took my finger off the Boston Police phone number I had on speed-dial.

I followed the potential kidnapper’s instructions and Googled “pussy riot.” I did this even though I knew in my heart that my email’s inbox would now be flooded with SPAM of the most hideous variety. I love my boy that much.

Turns out in February three women in Russia sang an anti-Vladimir Putin song on the steps of a church, and after Putin was elected in March, they were all arrested for—get this—hooliganism. (Side note: If I am ever arrested for anything in my life, I hope it is this, because in the United States that usually means overnight in the drunk tank, AND I will have the charge of hooliganism on my permanent life record.)

Not so in Russia.

All of the women remain in jail, and the Boston Pussy Riot was an all-day concert and vegan barbecue to raise money for their legal defense fund. Apparently, the Russian girls’ punishment carried the possibility of up to seven years in prison and removal of their parental rights, even though free speech is a guaranteed right in the Russian constitution.

Me: “Found it. Holy shit!”

Tom: “Right? I’m grilling zucchini in pussy riot solidarity.”

Me: “Are you going vegan as well?”

Tom: “F_ _k no.”

I love it. My son has a conscience and a love for good corn-fed beef. He’ll be just fine.

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Kari Lynn Collins is a humor columnist at the Iowa Park Leader, a weekly newspaper in Texas, and blogs at www.onefunnybroad.com. She is bat-shit passionate about her husband, grown children, friendship and laughter.

Again, this story appears in “Not Your Mother’s Book…On Being a Parent.” The book is filled with 68 entertaining stories about parenting and raising kids. Purchase this book today from your favorite retailer, Amazon (http://amzn.to/1rttaBF) or Barnes & Noble (http://bit.ly/11EGnCl).

To submit your stories for consideration in future NYMB titles, go to http://www.PublishingSyndicate.com and click on the “Not Your Mother’s Book” tab.

 

 

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