Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Yep--I'm THAT mom

I often catch myself saying things that I always hoped would never come out of my mouth. You know the phrases: “Because I said so” and “This is the last time I’m gonna say this” and the worst ever, “Just wait til your dad gets home.” All things I immediately regret, but they just seem to flow off the tongue so easily.

Today, the girls and I met a friend and her daughter at the park. We actually went to 2 parks. At the second, there were several kids—including a group of middle schoolers. I noticed the middle school students immediately—as a mom, you subconsciously look over all the people at a public place your kids are going to be running around in. They were sitting in a circle and were sticking to themselves and not paying any attention—good or bad—to the other kids playing around them.

Due to the wind, my friend and I moved to another spot, on the other side of the play area from the students. After we had been there for a while, my 9 year old came over to ask me about the students. She said they were sitting in a circle, spinning a can and kissing each other. She wanted to know why they were doing that. Oh-Uh. I don’t think I ever imagined myself explaining Spin the Bottle to my child.

So, I tried to describe it in basic terms and told her it was not a game I ever wanted her to play (gotta throw that in there). My friend said, “That’s pretty gross, huh?” Hope said, “Not if it’s a cute boy you get to kiss.” Double Oh-Uh! I think I have a new prerequisite for friends for her—no cute boys or friends with cute brothers (wonder if there’s a box I can check for that on her school enrollment card, as well???).

So, my friend and I talked about going over there to say something to the students, but I decided I would just sit closer to them and observe. Hope decided to sit right beside me. After about 30 seconds, she got bored and ran off to play again. Just in time, too. One of the girls spun the can and then proceeded to say the f word before she reached across and kissed the boy.

I couldn’t sit still any longer. I tried to be polite, but I explained to them that this was a playground and while I knew they weren’t bothering the kids, they were using language and playing a game that 1st and 3rd graders didn’t really need to be exposed to. I apologized to them for being THAT mom, but I also just wanted them to understand that these kids were listening to them.

They immediately apologized and left. I truly think they felt bad. They were just a bunch of kids themselves, hanging out and didn’t mean to cause any trouble. But it made me sad. I don’t regret saying something to them. I wasn’t rude or hateful or angry. I stated facts. But, I started to wonder if their parents knew what they were doing. Probably not, but if they did, would they care? Would they think this was just a harmless, rite-of-passage game?

I will probably never see any of those students again and even if I did, I don’t think I would recognize them. But, I have prayed for them several times since I last saw them. There, but for the grace of God, go my kids. I prayed for them to have courage to make the wise choice. I prayed that they would have candid conversations with their parents. I prayed that they would think back to my words to them and realize the leadership role they play in this world.

And I prayed one more prayer. I prayed that if my girls ever played spin the bottle, they would have an adult step into their game and stop it—long before their turn came to spin or kiss anything or anyone.


Becca said...

I don't know what I would have done in that situation - but good for you for asking them to take it elsewhere - you know by doing that, they felt uncomfortable and were embarrassed. I bet they will always remember that and think twice before doing something like that again!!


Barb said...

Knowing you, I know you handled yourself with grace and truth. I love that about you. That is always my prayer for my boys... that when they need to be "caught" they will be. Hopefully one of THOSE moms will be in the vicinity!!

April said...

Oh, I think this might be your best blog post ever! Love your heart on this.
When I was at the park yesterday, I heard one of the teenagers there say "Oh, I hope the swing doesn't leave marks on my butt". And I wanted to say, "honey, if half of your butt wasn't hanging out of those shorts, the swing couldn't get it dirty!".

LauraLee Shaw said...

THAT is the kind of mom I want around my kids if they are doing ANYTHING they shouldn't be doing. You ABsolutely did the right thing, dear Angel. Wish more moms and dads would do the same. I also kindly reprimanded some teens in Claire's a few weeks ago for saying some bleep-de-bleep words, bad ones, loudly, over and over in the story in the presence of my girls and many others. I didn't get quite the same response you did, but that's okay. We'll keep trying!

Love your blog, Angel. I didn't even know you had one!

Angel said...

haha, April--that will be Hope in a few years (feel free to voice your comment out loud to her if you catch her wearing something skimpy). Laura, next to not wanting to answer any more questions from my 9 year old, the reason I said something to them is because I would want someone to say something to my girls if they were involved in that. Honestly, instead of being frustrated or angry at them, I was more sad--I really believe they were good kids (it's not often that I believe the best about people, so this was nice for me)