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.