Why I Choose To Be An Honest Mother

Warning:  This is a post from my heart.  It is real, and has nothing to do with crafts, decor, or DIY.   I felt the need to share what has been on my mind lately and why…

I have a story.  We all do.  We have all had things happen in our lives that make us think or act a certain way.  Like you, I have had many experiences that have shaped the person, wife, and mother that I am now.  I have thought about a particular time in my life a lot lately, so I thought I would share it with you.

It was a beautiful day in May, 1992.  I was 16 years old, and thought I had it all figured out.  A social butterfly, not often thinking of what was coming next, or what the consequence of my actions or others actions for that matter could bring.  Everyone at school was talking about Senior Skip Day.  There was going to be a huge party for the seniors, and everyone was going.  No parents, lots of sunshine, loud music, and free flowing beer, I had to be there.  See, where I grew up, partying in highschool was the norm.  I’m not saying that as a parent I am okay with it, I’m just saying that’s how it was then.  

Lots of kids skipped school that day, but I opted to go after with some other friends that weren’t skipping. I remember watching the clock all day long.  Come on…let’s just get this day over with!  Finally, the final bell rang, I ran with some other friends to my friends car, and we were on our way.  It was sooo crazy.  There were so many people there, even kids from other schools.  The music was loud, guys were passing footballs, girls were sitting on the grass stretched out letting the sun soak in, and there was a ton of laughter.  I payed the three dollars for a plastic cup and waited while one of the seniors filled it with keg beer.  The U-Haul filled with kegs of beer didn’t even seem off to me.  I was just a girl trying to fit in with everyone else.  It was kind of the norm.  

I took my beer and plopped down on the side of the hill with some friends, and joined the conversation.  Cypress Hill was playing in the distance and the party was in full swing.  Then everything stopped in an instant.  The world went quiet, except for the sound of a gun being shot.  I remember the sound like it  happened five minutes ago, I remember screaming, and diving, and looking up to see where I should run.  It was complete chaos.  Everybody was running and screaming, nobody knew what to do.  

Then I saw something that I will never be able to erase from my mind.  Two senior guys were holding up one of the guys that had been shot.  I didn’t know him well, but I knew his name. I remember falling to the ground, feeling like I was going to throw up.  I wanted to run, but didn’t know where my friends were, and that’s when I saw Lydell.  We had been friends since the second grade.  Not best friends, but friends still.  He wasn’t moving.  He too was being hoisted up, but hanging lifeless.  What I saw next shook me to my core.  The shooter, and I knew him.  I had gone to school with him before I transferred to GW.  He had a gun.  He saw me, but he didn’t really see me.  He looked wild.  He started running in the other direction.  Some sort of instinct finally kicked in and I ran to my friend’s car.  She hit the gas hard, gravel flew, and we got out of there with our lives in tact.  I remember getting home, running to the kitchen to grab a knife, then running upstairs to my closet.  Nobody was home.  What if the shooters had seen me?  What if they thought I saw something and were coming for me?  Looking back, it seems silly.  The shooters were students from another school.  They were probably as scared as I was.  They too were probably in hiding.  But, my teenage mind was running wild.  So I sat in the corner of my dark closet, gripping that knife as hard as I could until my mom found me.  I didn’t cry until she found me, and then I cried for days.  I was terrified.  I didn’t want to leave our house, but my mom finally convinced me to see a counselor.  It really helped me realize that I would be okay, and that most of the other kids there were feeling the same way.  Going to school was a relief.  We all felt scared, sad, and helpless.  Of course, life returned to normal within weeks, and we all went away to college and continued on with our lives, but I am willing to bet that none of us have ever forgotten.

Now I am the proud parent of a 14 year old son.  The memory of that day terrifies me for him.  It makes me realize that I won’t always be around, and will not be able to control everything that he experiences, good or bad.  It has made me an honest mother.  I have told him about Senior Skip Day.  I have been honest about drinking in high school.  I don’t pretend to have been the perfect child.  I don’t expect him to be perfect either.  What I do want my teenage son to know is that no matter what situation he finds himself in, he can always count on his parents.  If he is in a dangerous situation, he can call us, and no matter what, we will come to get him.  I want him to know that while partying seems fun, it is extremely dangerous.  Teenagers are impulsive, they don’t always think of consequences.  Some of them may carry a gun.  They don’t realize how easy it is to take a life.  They think they are invincible.  Some parents don’t feel the same way, but they haven’t lived the same life as me.  So, this is how I choose to parent my children.

So far it’s working.  A few weeks ago, he called us to say that some kids were drinking at the festival he and his friends were at.  I left immediately to pick him up.  His father and I praised him for making the decision to leave a bad situation.  So, keeping it real really does work for me.  I’m not saying he will always make the correct decisions, but I hope at the very least, he knows he can count on me.

I didn’t share the names of my friends.  This story doesn’t only belong to me.  I am just grateful for such wonderful friends and family to share in my life experiences.  I in no way shape or form condone under age drinking.  


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