Monthly Archives: June 2011

One Tough Mother

The following post is from one of my very bestest friends. We have been pals since we were 19 and she has done me the great service of jumping over life’s big hurdles (kids, marriage, divorce) ahead of me. She is one of the wisest women I know and I’m so happy she agreed to share some of that wisdom here on my blog.  As you read her post please keep in mind that she is a teeny tiny woman (5’1″ tall and weighs maybe 100lbs…with all her clothes on…soaking wet. She’s also drop-dead gorgeous, but I don’t hold that against her.)….

A couple weeks ago my 15 year-old daughter had a rough afternoon – typical kid stuff, really – but she was sad and I was worried, you know the drill. She wanted to be alone so, in theory, I left her alone. Everyone needs the illusion of privacy, so I waited until she fell asleep and then snuck into her room to read her text messages.

One of the chats was between she and a boy named Joe, who I’d never met or heard of. The texts were about pot–her wanting some, him having some. He offered to meet her that night to sell her some of his “good stuff,” but in the end she said “never mind, thanks anyway.” I was beside myself; it barely mattered that she’d turned him down. All I could think about was what we went through last summer.

My daughter is smart and strong and we are very close. But as a single mom with a full-time job, I’m not able to watch her every move–especially in the summer. Last year she and some friends got into trouble that, thankfully, had no long-term consequences but did result in one very scary night at the police station and several hours of community service. I thought we were past all that, but these texts said otherwise.  I decided I would not take a “wait and see” approach. This needed to be nipped in the bud. Sooo….. I texted him back (pretending to be my daughter) and we arranged to meet in 5 minutes at a nearby elementary school.

There is only one way to say what happened at the elementary school: I scared the living SHIT out of that teenage drug dealer! My boyfriend (who happens to look a lot like Thor, bulging biceps and all) stayed in the car because I wanted to talk to Joe myself. I walked up to him and told him who I was, or rather, whose MOTHER I was. I told him that selling drugs on school property was an automatic felony with mandatory jail time. I told him to keep his drugs and himself away from my daughter. I said “I didn’t involve the police this time, but I will if there is ever a next time. And I promise you: if that happens, it will be your life that gets ruined, not my daughter’s. Do NOT involve my daughter in any of your shit ever again.” At this point I could see him shaking.

By the time my boyfriend (a.k.a. Thor) came out of the car, Joe was so scared he actually looked relieved to see any other human being.  He sputtered, “ma’am, I’m so sorry – if she calls me again, I’ll tell her to not do drugs!” He looked at Thor and said, “She’s like an FBI agent. I wish she was my mom because she’s such a good parent.”  I told him to pull his head out of his ass and stop kissing mine.  Then I felt a twinge of guilt and lightened up. I said, “Just be the good person you really are, it’s not that hard.”

As we were driving away, Joe the drug dealer texted me, “Thank you! And I’m sorry about the incident! You’re a great mother! Goodnight!”

The next day I told my daughter I’d read her texts, and she talked and talked about everything. It was great; I just listened and heard her out for a long time. We were in a decent place and we both felt good about the conversation…then, I told her I met Joe.  Dropping that bomb at that moment was one of the best strategic parenting moves I’ve ever made. I told her that I will not sit idly by while she starts down a bad path again and I will not make it easy for her to destroy her life. I will handle things just like the night before: swiftly and with all my power and might. I told her that it won’t be fun or feel good.

She actually said thank you and that she loved and respected me. I believe she has always respected me, but I don’t think she knew I could be quite so bad-ass. Last summer I was too heartbroken from the divorce to bring all my courage and spunk to situations like this one. But this time I hardly had to think about it; I just took action. Since I know this isn’t the end of anything, I’ll just say this: I love happy middles.

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How Real Men Get Laid

I love my backyard. I bought the house, primarily, for the backyard. It’s big enough for the kids to kick a ball around and has a patio for sunny day lounging. But the best part of my backyard is the view of the park it borders; all trees and green grass. Families stroll by, people walk their dogs, and teenagers heckle each other on their way home from school. The activity reminds me that life carries on; a good thing for my half-hermit soul.

Due to the amenities of this particular park, dudes in shorts on their way to shoot hoops or toss a frisbee make up about 80% of the traffic past my back fence. I’m inspired to host an annual summer barbecue and call it “Sausage Fest.” It will be all my rowdy, hot-to-trot girlfriends, me, and several pitchers of margaritas. We will position our chairs for the best view, sip cocktails while enjoying the sausage parade, and perhaps hold up score cards like drunken olympic judges. Cheap thrills baby!

This could be June in a “Porn for Women” calendar.

Today I got a cheap thrill of slightly different kind. A group of men walked through the park looking like all the rest—wearing shorts and Tevas; basketball, frisbee and water bottles in hand. The only difference was that one guy was pushing a stroller. I watched them: their mood was cheerful and relaxed like “well I want to hang with my buds and I’m a dad now so I’m bringing my baby with me.” He made it look like the most natural thing in the world. Kind of like what most of us moms do… every day… without question… from the moment we give birth.

At that very moment I’d sunk into believing all men are inherently weak and selfish and I’d be alone forever because I’m done settling for weak and selfish. Then this guy walked by and before I knew it I shouted “Hey! Guy with the stroller!” I ran over and asked if there really was a baby in the stroller (I thought it was just as likely that the stroller was for carrying beers or attracting idiot women like myself).

When I saw the baby my heart gushed. I said, “You are a good man and I bet somewhere there is a happy mama getting a much-needed break.” His friends smiled and spoke-up that, yes, there was. I then rapid-fire babbled, “I’m divorcing and jaded and a writer and I want to take your picture; here’s my card so your woman can see my blog, I hope your friends are taking notes because this is how you real men get laid, wait here while I get my camera!” (This is why I primarily stick to PASSIVE socialization.)

I don’t know anything about this dude or his woman or their relationship. But I choose to believe that they are happy and that he is proof good men DO exist. That is what’s great about being an optimist–when dark thoughts invade it only takes a small ray of light to renew my faith in life and humankind. I love my backyard.

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