Parenting is such a tough job.
At least I think it is.
I want to be clever when I discipline my boys. They should grow up to love and respect me. They *have* to know I'm the boss and in charge. They can't be afraid of me.
Well, maybe just a little bit.
I would like my boys to know when I am truly disappointed in them. I can get over being mad, but don't you think disappointment hangs around longer? Do you try to do things differently or do them better when you have disappointed someone? I want my boys to understand the difference between anger and disappointment.
When I was in 7th grade I got busted. I mean, totally big trouble. I thought my excuse was going to get me sent to my room for the night with no television. It turned out much, much worse.
The Sunday before we were to return to school from Easter break our Junior High caught on fire. The whole Science building was pretty much destroyed. We had to take an extra week off so the school officials could round up some portable buildings and get the fire damage cleaned up. We all went back to school and things were crowded but semi normal.
A few weeks later I just didn't feel like going back to class after lunch so for the first time in my school age years I was going to ditch class. I talked my best friend that year, Monique Jones, into ditching with me. We were rebels now baby! About 3 minutes after the final bell rang, Aine Forrest came out to the Lobby where we were hanging out and said that Mrs. Butler was looking for us. Crap, what were we going to say? Monique looked me square in the eye and told me that she was going to say that she was using the bathroom and I had better not lie on her and say anything different. Well, I already had my excuse in my mind and thought it was a damn good one to get me out of the *tiny* trouble I was going to be in for being late to class.
I told the teacher that there had been a bomb threat called into the school and I was the one who picked up the pay phone where the caller had made his threat.
Yep! That's what I said.
I told her as I was headed to class the payphone outside the gymnasium was ringing so I answered it. The person on the other end of the line said that there was a bomb in the school. I said I was so nervous I didn't know what to do and that was when Aine found us. I was sure this would get me out of trouble and thought she would just send me back to my seat and we'd get through the rest of the day.
Instead she started screaming and running around like a banshee. She ran to Mr. Heinrich's class room and told him to call 911 and then started evacuating the classrooms. All hell was breaking loose and before I knew it the entire Junior High was evacuated and standing on the football field about nine *thousand* yards away from any building that could possibly blow up. I could hear sirens screaming and kids crying. Oh shit, what did I just do? It was like I had this fog around me. I couldn't breathe. I couldn't see. I couldn't talk. I could hardly even walk. I was escorted to the football field as well but the principal told me that I needed to stay close so that I could give the police a report when they arrived.
Give a WHAT?!?! To the WHO?!?! Holy mother of God, how am I going to get out of this one? Stick to your story Genny, do not break, whatever happens, DO NOT BREAK!!! I almost threw up when I saw the police officer walking towards me with the principal. There was a third person and when I figured out who it was I started crying hysterically. It was MY DAD and he was heading my way. I remember he didn't say a word. He just stared at me the entire time I was talking to the police officer, giving him my *false* report. All three of them just let me talk. When I got through my lie the officer looked at me and said, "Miss Chastain, we are a little confused. You see, we ran the recordings from that payphone and the last call that came in from that phone was yesterday after noon just after we began tapping the line."
You said what? I'm sorry, I thought you just said that you tapped that phone line yesterday
Yes, that's right. We started running a wire tap on that phone yesterday due to some on-going prank phone calls the school pay phone has been receiving lately.
How the hell was I supposed to know that some pervert from across the street had been calling for the last two weeks while using his binoculars?!?! He had been telling all the girls who answered the phone that he could see them and how pretty they were along with some other disgusting perverted stuff. I had never answered that phone a day in my life and now this? Not only did I just give a false report but I was to blame for the fire truck that had a collision with a car on the way up to the school! This whole "ditching" idea was turning out to be the worst decision in my life. I was going to be grounded forever. Not only that but I knew I had disappointed my dad. See, disappointment is much, much worse than anger. He wouldn't even look at me.
The next day I was scheduled to meet with the Amador County DA. My dad was an attorney in town and had worked with the DA some, so he was going to take me to my appointment to receive my punishment. We sat in the tiny office and I was a wreck. I couldn't stop crying. My dad still hadn't really looked at me in the eye and all I could hear in my head was my mom saying "your father is furious". The DA passed along some message to me, one from each the school Principal and the Chief of Police. The police chief wasn't going to press charges for the false statement *and* I'd have to pay for the damages outside of what insurance was going to pay for the accident between the fire truck and vehicle. He was going to let the DA take care of my punishment. The Principal wanted me to know that I was suspended for the next three days. The District Attorney decided that I should be on probation until I was EIGHTEEN!! Dude, that was like an eternity. I was only 14 then!
I was grounded for the entire summer. I became close with my parents and did a lot of house cleaning. I even did some typing for my dad at his office. Closer toward the end of summer they let up a little bit and I think I was allowed to go swimming a few times at the public pool. I was basically a very well behaved teenager from then on. Every time I went out with my friends the word PROBATION stuck with me, so I never really did anything wrong.
When I graduated from High School my dad took me aside as we were getting ready to head to the football field and said "I just wanted you to know that you are no longer on probation. In fact, you never were on probation at all. We were just trying to teach you a lesson".
At first I was pissed. A FOUR YEAR LESSON?! But the more I thought about it the more it made me laugh. I started laughing and then we both just about fell over in tears from laughing so hard. Now that, was clever parenting! Not one time during my fake probation did they tell me any different. But I still obeyed and respected them the entire time. They let me believe that I had already used up my trouble ticket and I wasn't getting any other breaks.
I want to be that parent.