Posted by: canthold | October 22, 2007

Young Thing

I spent this weekend living in the future. Apparently, my house is really messy there, too. I’ve had a minor head cold that has morphed into an anvil on top of my head. And someone took a sledge hammer and hit me with it. I think this is probably my fifth-ish migraine, too. Whoopee am I glad to join the Migraine Club!

My great neighbors asked me to watch their chickens again when they went out of town this weekend. Unfortunately, along with the chickens came a teenager and all the trouble that follows. This adorable Young Thing is the cause of my migraine. I’m sure of it.

All I know is that she was supposed to get the house key from me and bring it back in about an hour after she’s gotten her things from the house. A house party and an over-night (with guest) and an entire half-day later, the key finally came back to me. This wasn’t part of the plan.

The other grown-ups that I consulted with about the whole thing were of the she’s-going-to-do-stuff-she’s-a-teenager camp. Being a rule-follower, however, I was much more bothered by what was happening at the time. She left a message for me that she was going to have a couple of girlfriends over and she’d tell her dad, but I didn’t get the message until after I went over there (she’s broken in, somehow because I hadn’t been home to give her the key yet) and a boy answered the door. And there were other boys there, too.

About an hour later, she came to my door and told me that she was freaked out that her friends had told friends and so on and the party was something she didn’t expect it to be. I offered to go over there and clear it out for her and she declined. At this point, she had my sympathy, and appeared as though she’d take care of it.

In hindsight, I wonder if calling the police would have been the right thing to do. In my cautious and ever critical mind, I envision the scene from Traffic where the teen ODs and they dump him at the hospital. I also see a pregnant teenager nine-months from now toddling down the stairs to visit the folks. Perhaps I should have called the neighbors on their trip.

At the time I was trying to reconcile my role in watching the house with memories of being a teen and currently being a mother. I was given all kinds of opportunity to screw up when I was her age and I did not. Most all of my antics were pretty innocent and when this Young Thing asks me to allow her to tell her dad herself, I trusted first and didn’t act at all.

The next day, it was clear that she over-stepped everyone’s boundaries, including mine. I felt that she took advantage of me by spending the night and expecting me to stay silent. I spoke with her and told her to tell her dad a story as close to the truth as she could because while I wouldn’t tattle on her, I wasn’t planning on lying either. And I would be seeing them the next day. It was clear, however, that she didn’t plan on telling any of it.

When my neighbors came home, I felt both relieved and apprehensive. I was happy to hand over the key, but at the same time I didn’t want to take credit for helping them out since I don’t feel very good about the weekend. Young Thing’s antics made me worry and lose sleep and I second-guessed everything I did and didn’t do.

My neighbors, experienced in the whole thing, asked enough of the right questions to find out what happened allowing me to confirm without tattling. I’m sure Young Thing will not see it that way, but it is what it is. They were surprised because she did not disclose anything when given the opportunity, but not surprised because of past antics, I suppose.

Now, as always when I don’t hold my tongue, I worry that I said too much. I worry that I didn’t do enough. As a mom, I would want to discover when my children have done something to break my trust. I would hate to think that they’d do it over and over again because I was a doormat. I guess I would have expected my neighbor to tell me. Someone I know had a party and was snitched out and he never liked that person again – ever – and she’s a family member. I don’t want to be that hated.

I found rocks behind my car once that looked like they were placed there – sharp side up – on purpose. I suspected Young Thing at the time but I couldn’t even be sure it was an intentional act. I worry about retaliation by her or her goon squad. I hope my car doesn’t get keyed one of these days.

But mostly, I worry about my own children turning out this way. Untrustworthy. Manipulative. Insolent. I didn’t like living in the future this weekend and I really want to enjoy the present day for a while. And I want to feel better. I want someone to remove the anvil.

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