When I read the word NIJOD, I know I can cast my worries aside and enjoy peaceful sleep. “What’s NIJOD?” you ask? Allow me to explain…
My 26-year-old son Jeremy lives with me. But at 26, he’s not a child, so he does his own thing and it’s not like I can stop him, even if I think whatever it is he has planned might be a bad idea. However, because we are technically roommates (and because he doesn’t have the most reliable truck and is no stranger to speeding tickets and traffic accidents), I still get a little mama-bear-worried if he’s not home around the time he says he will be.
My 30-year-old daughter Stefani does not live with me and hasn’t for years. While I still get pangs of mama-bear-worry over her, they don’t usually come unless I happen to know she’s in a potentially dangerous situation (such a traveling out of state with bad tires or brakes). But as for her day-to-day life, since I don’t know her hourly plans, I just have faith that she’s doing well unless I hear otherwise.
My sister Michelle lives with me. We are technically roommates and have witnessed a lot of the worst life has to offer (unlike my kiddos who are still young enough to think bad things won’t ever happen to them), so because Michelle and I are both old ladies responsible adults, we’ll both still give a courtesy call to each other or even to Jeremy if our plans have changed and we’ll be home significantly later than expected.
It took several years times of trying to explain to Jeremy that I’m not trying to control his every move, but rather just want confirmation that he’s not been in an accident or ended up in jail for some reason (not that he’s criminally mischievous – he’s definitely not, but he also would have no qualms about defending himself by beating the crap out of someone if he felt they were threatening him).
Finally, I got him to agree to texting me a code word if he’s going to be very late or not come home at all that night. NIJOD. NIJOD is our code word, and it’s an acronym for “Not In Jail Or Dead.” I used to text him “NIJOD?” and hope he replied, but now, he almost always automatically sends a quick NIJOD text on his own and I go to bed without imagining all the possible reasons why he might be so late. Apparently, texting NIJOD is a lot cooler than answering calls from your mama-bear-worried mommy who calls to check and make sure you’re okay if you’re not home when you said you would be.
So, if you’ve got a teenager or twenty-something kiddo who still lives with you but doesn’t feel like they should still have to report their whereabouts or change in plans, you can feel free to adopt NIJOD for your own covert communication efforts.
Let’s talk: Do you call or text your at-home person or people when your plans change? Would you be happy with a code word if your at-home person or people was running very late?