Coming off of the worst September in recent memory, we roll right into October where Mercury goes retrograde four days in. Oy vey.
I feel like I may have Vaguebooked my blog. I can't help to think that I am not alone in the struggles with my teenage daughter. To be honest, I was vague because I was embarrassed.
Embarrassed that I had let her become someone that I didn't even recognize, but even more by her behavior. Her backtalking, eyerolling, dressing like some emo kid who was being treated horribly by her parents and peers. In reality, she shouldn't be complaining because we do everything we can to make sure our kids are allowed to be themselves, participate in their lives on as many fronts as we can.
Here is what happened.
The last Saturday of September the band had two band competitions. One in the morning, the other in the evening across town from each other. In between, the kids were taken to the mall to hang out and eat for about an hour and a half. We took a big cooler and another family and ours fixed all our kids sandwiches in the parking lot. My daughter and her friend decided they had their own money and would eat inside.
We ate, sent our other kids on their way, and did a little window shopping while we were in the area. We never left the mall. We checked in with both our daughter and our son. I had to use the bathroom. Upon leaving the bathroom, I phoned my husband to make sure he was still in the store that I had left him in.
He wasn't. Then he spoke the words I pray I never hear ever again.
"I am standing outside (the store we were previously in) with Kaia. And a security officer."
She had shoplifted.
At first, I was livid. I could not believe she would make such a choice. As we made our way to the security office, I phoned the band director as she was technically on a band field trip. He was just as livid. Turned out that my daughter and her friend had taken a $10 ring. I was even more disappointed to find out that in addition to the ring, my daughter had also peddled some gloves.
You know that saying you hear on TV, "I'm not mad, just disappointed."? That is EXACTLY what I felt. I felt disappointment, anger, embarrassment. Making matters even worse was the store employee who just couldn't stop fucking SMILING the whole time. Like she was the cat who had finally caught a mouse. It was disgusting. She looks at my husband and I and tells us that her store prosecutes no matter how old the person is. Flashing her inappropriate smile the whole time.
Then... the entire band walks past the office because that's the way to get back on the buses. Thank goodness the police officer hadn't arrived yet.
He wasn't very lenient with the girls. He shouldn't have been. They are only 13 years old and instilling some fear in them was needed. He explained that if they were 18 they would be going to jail. Even if all they had taken was a pack of gum. He talked to each girl separately, spoke to both sets of parents (her's had to be called because they weren't there), and spoke to everyone together. We didn't say anything to her. The other mother had plenty of belittling things to say to her daughter. Very loudly.
I kept it together for the most part. However, when the officer began reading the girls their Miranda rights, I had to seriously think about my body language. When he turned them around and handcuffed them, I had to look away. I didn't want her to see me cry.
He told us he was going to cuff them, put them in the back of his car, while he filled out their paperwork. After about 45 minutes, the other girl was released to her parents custody. Where her mother began berating her again about how she would never see another band competition and so on and so forth. Another 45-ish minutes later, after explaining when her court day is, what she is being charged with, and who the judge will be, he released our daughter to our custody.
I did the only thing I knew to do. I wrapped my arms around her and told her I loved her.
After it happened, my husband took her home, I attended the second competition because our son is also in band, and then I caught a ride home with another parent. It was the next day before I spoke with her about what happened. It was a lengthy discussion in which I told her that everyone makes mistakes in life, it is what we do with ourselves after those mistakes that define who we are, who we will become.
She has been banned from the high school marching band for the rest of the year. Removed from the middle school band for the next nine weeks and put in in-school suspension for four days. We have no idea what the judge will decide, how much that shoplifted $37 worth of stuff will end up costing us.
I have seen a change in her attitude. However slight it may be, it is still a positive. At first she was reluctant to let go of the bad influences, but once she finally did, I saw her begin to climb out of the valley.
So that's where we are now...