Saturday, May 31, 2008

17 (Almost 18)

I'm getting ready to violate one of my own blogging rules (i.e. thou shall not post stories about thy children which might later be used against thee in a court of law) to share a little testimony. I also need to document this in the permanent record for discussion later with her probation officer, but that's another story altogether.

First, a little character say the youngest daughter has a flair for the dramatic is an understatement. She's always excelled in drama and linguistics (we've told her she should be a trial lawyer). She's also beautiful and intelligent, but does not know the meaning of the word "moderation" (e.g. yesterday, I watched her whisk in 6 (SIX!) Equal packets to her small vanilla white chocolate mocha). The perfect metaphor for her life was discovered the other day when she was cooking (scorching) scrambled eggs and I suggested turning down the heat. She responded with, "I cook everything on high. It cooks faster that way. Go away!" And that is how she lives her life, everything on high, all the time, without assistance. Impetuous, Impatient, Independent.

So we were not terribly surprised to hear (via a frantic phone call from her sister) that she was on her way to the Greyhound station, California bound, late Thursday night. She was supposed to be at a friend's house. She left our house after a heated argument with her dad involving broccoli (oh sure, we're laughing about it now), chores, respect and use of the family car. We were not surprised to hear she was headed for the bus station because a) she tried leaving the house with a suitcase full of clothes, saying she was going back to California (she ultimately ran out the door with a purse full of books...she's an avid reader...aside from the gravity of the situation, the sight of a runaway carrying nothing but a big leopard print purse overflowing with books is quite comical), and b) she's independent enough and fearless enough to carry through. But we were very distressed.

I called the bus station to see if there was anything we could do to stop her from leaving (there wasn't enough time to drive to the bus station before the bus was scheduled to leave). I spoke to an undercover detective who was stationed there. He told me that the laws in MO prevented him from stopping her (the laws of MO are actually a contradiction...while parents are responsible for their kids until they are 18, teenagers are considered emancipated at age 17, meaning they are free to run without interference and without responsibility, since their parents are still responsible for their insane law that puts 17-year-olds in a position of untouchability), but he promised to keep an eye out and check the passenger manifest. I hung up the phone, called her cell phone, left a message that we loved her and wanted her to come back home, and then prayed, because I knew she was not in our hands at that point. The detective called back an hour later to tell me that she did in fact present herself at the counter to buy a ticket, but they couldn't sell it to her because the bus was full. He said she was still there with a friend but there were no other busses running to CA until the next day. Thank you, God! A few minutes later (now about 1:00 am), she called to say that she had decided not to go afterall, no mention of the fact that the bus was full. And I didn't tell her I knew otherwise. I'm just thankful that she recognized the "intervention" for what it was, a wake up call.

I took Friday afternoon off to spend some time with her. She apologized. We kissed and made up, for now. There will be more drama between now and the date she turns 18. I could say that 18 can't come soon enough, but truth is, we don't stop loving our kids once they become "adults." We still want to help them find happiness.



At 8:09 PM, June 01, 2008, Blogger Janie said...

Wow. That had to be a hard time, Gwynne.

It's good y'all are a constant in her life - a boundary, that loves. She'll see it soon, and be thankful for it.

At 6:13 AM, June 02, 2008, Blogger Sisiggy said...

It's amazing that anyone lives beyond their teenage years without either getting themselves killed or their parents strangling them in their sleep. Until they're done with it all, I guess we just have to live for those extremely rare moments when you see the light go on in their brains that made the connection between actions and all the consequences. Once -- just once, mind you -- my oldest son actually said the words, "You were right after all, Mom."

Yeah, I know. I should have recorded it.

At 6:51 AM, June 02, 2008, Blogger Rach said...

I'm glad that everything worked out in the end. It must have been very stressful. You did good with your reaction to it.

At 8:05 AM, June 03, 2008, Blogger Lynellen said...

I'm so glad your daughter is safe! Hang in there. I you think youngest daughter is acting out partly to get more attention due to the family stress and consumingness (is that a word? i think not) of oldest daughter's pregnancy?

At 8:22 AM, June 03, 2008, Blogger Gwynne said...

Thanks, Janie and Rach...your encouragement always helps! :-)

Sisiggy, I am amazed as well that anyone lives beyond the age of 19 and you're right, the few moments of "light" have to be savored. The apology I got on Friday was one of those moments. A few tears welled up in fact.

Lynellen, I think that's definitely part of it. Both girls have been extremely jealous of each other lately. I can hardly stand to be in the same room with both of them at the same time. Everything becomes a source of argument.


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