#1 was always a good student. He has one of those minds that I certainly don’t understand. He was always at the top of his class and Was Destined For Great Things. He always did his chores, watched his siblings, was very respectful, and was a delight….(and Yes I Was Delusional. He Wore No Halo)…..
I believed that he was just the Best Child Ever Born. No one could tell me different. He was awarded with Things because of his Fabulousness…is that a word?
I was an Idiot of the Highest Order. The Queen of Idiots to be exact.
He was not home schooled like some of the others. The problem was not with the schools, they were all in the public schools at the time, they were Great, he Was Not.
He learned to drive and like an Idiot of the Highest Order, (I did not want him to buy his own car like I Had To Do) of course we bought him a car. DUMB mistake. He was in tenth grade, still making good grades. However, unbeknownst to me, he was running with a rough crowd, Partying, (sometimes with his friends’ parents….YES I WAS APPALLED) and of course his grades began to fall…..a phone call finally came in from the Principal. He was skipping classes, got caught with weed, was drinking, got caught driving like a MANIAC, SHOPLIFTED when the fool had money in his pocket. He got caught of course. I asked him why he was STEALING and he said, “to see if I could get away with it”…What???…..
During this time, I was completely bewildered. I thought he was going to be a surgeon or a senator, or cure a terrible disease, or Something Amazing because he was so Smart. After all, I was not a very good student. I was too busy hiding books in books and reading instead of paying attention or writing in class, not paying attention in the least because I was going to be a journalist and then write The Great American Novel…… I was in Awe of his intellect. I of course blamed myself…for what? I don’t know. I just knew it was My Fault.
One sunny day, I received a call from his high school and I was still in Denial. I was Forced to see that he was truly in Trouble. He was thrown out of school. THROWN OUT!! He was not permitted to go to an Alternative School because he made such stupendously good grades. I went before the school board and asked if he could clean the floors throughout the entire school with a toothbrush (Yes I Did That), please don’t throw him out. Well they did and he deserved it.
I was not home schooling at that time, but I was terrified that he would not even get a high school education, so offered to home school him but he refused (like a fool)..He was facing charges with the law as well. Luckily, one of my customers happened to be a probation officer. He told me he would “go light on him” for my sake. I told him to throw him in the slammer. My customer, and friend of many years could not believe it, but I really meant it and he went to facility for a few nights. I refused to come and get him. I of course wailed and cried and rallied against the school and their policy of not allowing him to finish. I drove the hubs crazy with my tears and I WAS FURIOUS.
When I finally picked #1 up his attitude was not much better, he was very hurt that I would allow him to be placed in a facility for offenders. I demanded that he go to work, which he did. He was seeing a girl from school, he was only 17, she was 15, soon to be 16. I had just had #6 myself, so was short on patience with him. The girl was pregnant and her parents threw her out. Of course we took her in, under duress I may add, and my granddaughter was born the following year. I told #1 that I was not going to help get him back in school, that he should be ashamed of himself, he would have to do it himself. I then drove off and cried for hours. Surprisingly, he went before the school board and the Principal and got himself reinstated in school and finished two years of high school in one year. He also kept working and supported his wife and child. He was 18.
I hated to do the ‘tough love’ thing and it was so hard for me to do, I can’t believe I have tears left to fall, but I did it. (for his own good of course). Today he is quite successful, has obtained his B.A. in Business, has a fabulous wife that I call Daughter (the same little 16 year old) and I have a new spy for my network, my granddaughter who is 14. It all worked out!!
However, I told myself that I would NEVER go through that again. Thus, my network of spies was born. There was a group of moms that I was a part of. All of our kids were of the same age, or close together, and we decided that we needed each other to watch out for our kids….(none of them wanted to go through the time I did) so I launched the spy network. At first it was made up of moms, but as time passed and people moved, I found that the best spies were my own children..Quite stealthily and with great care, I developed this network within the guise of ‘looking out for each other’. They never saw it coming!! Over the years, it has worked so well that I am Not In The Dark and can usually ‘catch things’ before they spiral out of control!!
This is just a little true story of how my spy network began. I suggest that all mothers and fathers develop one…..even when you get older as I have, you never stop being a parent!