There are times in the parenting journey when you feel as if you have taken up a permanent residence in the innards of your child’s disesteem. Lucky for me, in regards to my daughter, I didn’t care — that much. As I’m a mature woman, my teenager’s lack of shock and awe about the greatness that is me was quite frankly her loss. But, a part of me still craved her acknowledging, just the tiniest bit, that I was a-OK in the mom category.
I know I’m not the the cool mom or the hot mom or my kid’s bestie because none of those roles interest me. I’m just a solid mom with no gushing adjective attached. But then something happened last week to change all that. My daughter had a life crisis and I swooped in and saved the day. I rescued her Apple AirPods.
For the technologically unaware, Apple AirPods aren’t the name of a family pet or anything remotely human. The AirPods are miniscule wireless headphones, and if you’re a teenager they come in at number two, right behind the iPhone, as the most cherished thing in the world.
We were in Des Moines for a dance competition when the tragedy happened. Like most cataclysmic events, this one came out of nowhere. One second we were both exiting the car to go inside our hotel and then, before I could say “make sure you throw away that Chipotle bag,” an AirPod had vanished. One of the little buds had been swallowed whole by the interior of my car.
Well, to be more exact, as my daughter was disengaging one of the pods from her ear, it fell out and lodged itself in the no-man’s land that is the seat belt thingamabob. In the part where you click in the seatbelt there’s a space that was just the right size to eat the AirPod. It was trapped, ensnared by plastic. We pounded, we went under the seat, over the seat, prodded and plied and yet the headphone remained imprisoned.
My daughter’s despair was at DEFCON 1. She pleaded that we take the car to a mechanic and have the seat taken apart to free the headphone. I tried to explain that the labor expense of making that happen would equal the cost of about 10 AirPods. She then latched on to the idea of going to buy new AirPods. This earned her a look that said: “Never going to happen.”
Due to her distraught nature, I suggested she go up to the hotel room and mourn her AirPod in private, maybe start planning its memorial service, while I parked. What she didn’t know was that I was about to go full MacGyver on that car seat. I was getting that headphone out.
The big problem was I didn’t have any tools. So, I took a headband that was a piece of flexible metal covered in fabric and straightened it out. Then I got out a bra that fell out of a bag I had taken to Goodwill a couple of days earlier and using nail clippers cut out the underwire. Next, I attached the underwire to the metal of the headband and started the precision maneuvering needed to snake the wire into the crevice and release the headphone from its plastic grave. I felt like I was doing endoscopic surgury. It took about five minutes and required me hanging out of the backseat in a very unladylike fashion, but finally I freed that headphone!
When I delivered the amazing news of the successful rescue of the AirPod (via Snapchat, of course) there were literal tears of joy.
I, for one brief, shining moment was my teenager’s hero.