Saturday, March 14, 2009

The Mommy Trenches

Welcome to "The Gods Are Bored!" If it's mothering you need, look no further! We can provide you with a Goddess perfectly suited to you. Remember: Jesus had to bow his head and close his eyes to communicate with his father, but he could look his mama right in the eye.

My daughter The Spare is something like a live wire. Apparently, last weekend she somehow angered another live wire student at her school. Heated words were exchanged. The other live wire student is a male. He told The Spare that he was going to get his cousin to beat her up. He painted this cousin in terms that made her sound like a steam roller on steroids.

And so The Spare was scared.

Friday afternoon The Spare called me on the phone from her last period class at school. This did not please me. She should have been paying attention to the teacher. Instead she was worrying about what would happen after school. She wanted me to pick her up early.

I did not agree to this. Instead I drove up to the school and got a good parking space where I could see everyone who exited the building.

The Spare's eyes lit up with relief when she saw me, and she ran to the car. "Let's go," she said.

But I wouldn't go.

I told The Spare I intended to have a word with the young live wire who had threatened her, and I would not leave until I spoke to him.

Reader, you can just imagine. The Spare wanted to kill me.

We all have been embarrassed by our moms in one way or another, usually when we're teenagers. It's not until years later that we understand the motivation behind what our moms were trying to do. I was aware of this as I stood there in front of the school, but I kept standing anyway, even after The Spare became teary and tried physically to force me into the car.

Finally the young miscreant in question emerged from the school building and strode defiantly into his posse of rougnecks. I walked across the lawn. He tried to hide from me, but when he saw that it was impossible he just stood there.

In measured tones I told him that I expected my daughter to be able to walk around town without feeling threatened, was I making myself clear? Apparently so, because even though he got a little lippy with me, I sure have heard worse from my students without getting riled. I had the final word and walked away.

Spare cursed me and berated me all the way home. To her way of seeing it, I'd ruined her life, humiliated her in front of her "friends." Her status would never recover. All I said in return was that no one was going to threaten my daughter, and that I'd decided the easiest way to deal with the threat was to address it myself without bringing in authorities who are already fed up to the plimsol line with the young miscreant in question.

Once we got home, Spare slammed the door in my face and went to her room to sulk. I decided it was a lovely afternoon for a walk, so I went to the library and the grocery store, and got my wedding ring cleaned at the jeweler's, and even glared across Main Street at the miscreant, who slunk away, (hopefully) defeated.

By the time I got home, Spare had ascertained that the people who overheard me on the schoolground took her side and berated the miscreant themselves. So she was no longer angry at me. Even if she had been, I was cool with what I did. My daughter is not going to slink around in fear, and I'm not going to go whining to some guidance counselor about unconfirmed threats.

When I can handle it myself, I will. When I can't I'll get help. Either way, my daughter will walk safely through this borough. Because I'm her mom.


Lavanah said...

(speaking as a Mom) Hooray, You! Years from now, the Spare will retell this story to her children, as a demonstration of how good a mother you were, and why they need to put up with her.

Some of us might very well be lucky to turn into our mothers.

Lisa said...

here here Anne.........
score one for the mums x

Sarita said...

On one hand, speaking as a twenty year old who is still occasionally embarrassed by her mom, I can sympathize with the Spare.

On the other hand, what you did was great, even if the Spare isn't thanking you for it. :) Hopefully that's the end of the bully.

THE Michael said...

YOU GO GIRL! If I'd had a parent who cared about my personal safety at school, maybe I could have focused on important things like learning instead of devoping strategies for avoiding big kids who wanted to hurt me. Why we as parents put up with this crap to begin with is way beyond me. I don't have a kid, but you can bet your ass that if I did, and any other bigger kid even LOOKED at mine funny, I'd have the cops and.or the lawyers paying their parental units a visit. How do we impress our future citizens with the idea of the rule of law if we don't include THEM in it?

Aquila ka Hecate said...

Unlike The Michael, I don't put much hope in the rule of law.
Not the Rule made by this death-dealing civilisation, anyway.
I've found that the police and the state Are Not Your Friends, emphatically.
That said, what you did was perfect, Anne. We prtoect our loved ones, and we stand up for them.
My own Mom was way too shy to have ever done any such thing, and so I learnt self defence - which can also be good, I admit.
But applause - and it sounds like the Spare is coming to appreciate your love in action!

Terri in Joburg

Goat Yoda said...

I wish my mom had stood up for me instead of looking at me and asking 'what did you do to cause the problem?'- all I had to do was to walk into a room, hold my mouth the wrong way or breathe for some of these folks to jump on me-

Pom said...

Way to go, Anne!

It's been my experience that those who threaten someone with the violence of another are seldom able to recruit said other to actually get involved but you never know. Glad she's safe and reason reigned supreme amongst her peers.

harmonyfb said...

::high five for mom solidarity::

Anonymous said...

As a teenager I was threatened daily and stalked by a bully at my school. His intention was to force me to go home with him and have sex. This went on for months. I was stupid and didn't tell ANYONE. I was finally rescued when my parents decided to send me to a private school (for other reasons entirely).

Years later I came to find out that said miscreant was in prison for killing his girlfriend. He had pushed her out of his moving car on the freeway.

God for you Anne!!!!!

Anonymous said...

errrr, rather GOOD for you but I guess the first one fits rather well actually.

yellowdog granny said...

your terrific...i embarassed my kids so many times doing stuff like that..once a kid had been making life miserable for my son and he wouldn't say anything to me cause he knew i'd get in the mix ..which is what i did..i went to the kid and said let me have your car keys...he was so afraid of me he did and i unlocked his trunk ..grabbed him up and shoved him in it and said you can come out when you let me know that you will never tell my son your going to get a gun and shoot him...ever ever ever again.
after some muffled screaming and crying i let him out..he never even spoke to my son again.
and all of said son's friends said they wished i was their mom..ha

greer said...

You go ahead wit yo badd self!

Servitor Lucem said...

Well, what can I say that hasn't been said already. There are times when things like that need to be done. Bullies need to dealt with while they're still relatively harmless, and their intended victims need to be assured that there is someplace to go for help. Kids that are left to fend for themselves, convinced there's no one to turn to and no help sometimes end up taking desperate measures. The Columbine incident comes to mind. Some thorough research into that awful occurrence soon turns up the tale about the shooters. They were outcasts. They were incessantly victimized by bullies. Nobody, but nobody offered them any help, because the bullies were favored by the school authorities. The bullies were the sports heroes, the ball players, the big boys on campus. We all know what happened, but the nearly hidden story is compelling stuff. Even more compelling, and horrifying, is the tale of how the school administration tried so hard to bury the tale, and how they have, to this day, never been called out for their behavior, even though school districts all over the country understood how that incident came about, and took steps to prevent it from happening in their schools.
But, cheers for you, Anne. Where all that should start is where you started it. For all the cynical flak she took after the writing of her book, Hillary Clinton was right; it does take a village, and those who answer questions of their (or their kids') bahavior with "Mind your own business" are usually up to no good.

Maebius said...

Way to go standing up for your child, your thoughts, and handling things like this. I remember being totally humiliated at my own father doing something similar at a Scouting function, until I got older and had to call him up and thank him for being an upstanding (pun intended) role model for young-me. You are a great mom! :)

Anonymous said...


There's a young tough who picks on me at the bar, during "Happy Hour". He's always threatening me, usually because I stiff him on the bar tab. If you're not too busy...

Just kidding, good for you, and hopefully what your daughter really gets from this is that it's okay to be involved the way you were.