I promised myself I would get back on the alphabet bandwagon for my Thursday mothering alphabet series but I had such a surreal moment yesterday I just had to share.
Cupcake, my eldest step-daughter, came by my school for some university counselling with our most awesome guru on the subject. When it was over I promised to drive her to the subway so she could meet up with her friends and her boyfriend. The traffice was really slow and she said she had to be there for 4:30 or she would miss him so, being the wonderful step-mom that I am, I drove her all the way.
Of course, the cell phone started ringing – hers – and she began fielding some very interesting calls. My side of the conversations went something like, "Yes I have the money." "Don’t worry you can pay me later." "He’s going to get it today." "I’ll have it for Saturday."
Naturally, being an overly-suspicious secondary school teacher, I said as light-heartedly as I could, "It sounds like your dealing drugs." chuckle chuckle
This led to a great swerve and dodge on her part and a conversation about the evils of ecstacy until the next call when she ‘fessed up. She was having a party Saturday night at her mom’s house (her birthday is coming up soon) and although her mother refused to buy alcohol, she allowed for it to be present as long as no one got out of control. There are so many conversations that can come out of that issue alone, but I don’t envy her having to make those decisions and this blog is not about whether or not we should let kids drink.
It is about the fact that little Miss Cupcake was ordering breezers, mickeys and 2-6es (whoever heard of a 2-6, in my day they were twenty-sixers) from a friend’s older brother while she was riding shotgun in my mini van. She even had a pretty little list in her agenda that was decorated with flowers.
There are all sorts of things I should have been thinking I’m sure. Mostly, I was remembering giving money to sketchy old men to buy us lemon gin at the liquor store beside Sporting Life that doesn’t exist anymore and the time one of our 15 year old friends carried a case of Budweiser from St. Clair West station all the way to Sir Winston Churchill Park for our bush bash, with the police laughing and trailing him all the way. I asked her permission to blog this because it was so surreal and she laughed and said she thought that I had to. She did agree that it was a very awkward car drive, but we managed it with humour and we’ve had so many dinner table conversations about drinking and drugs and behaviour that a lecture didn’t seem necessary at this point.
Underage drinking? Rite of passage? Evil? Adolescent scourge? They’ll do it anyway, I’d rather it be in my house? Who knows what is right. It takes people much smarter than me to know the answers.
These are the things I do know. We trust Cupcake, She has good marks, is responsible, rarely stays out late or past curfew, holds a part-time job, doesn’t do drugs or smoke and has never come home falling down drunk or noticeably over-intoxicated. And she’s honest, at least about buying her breezers!
PS – although not remotely connected to this blog, but never far from my day-to-day life, here’s a link on a great article on msn.com today about adoption.
We’ve told our kids that they’re not allowed to drink while they’re underaged and live in our house, the end. Of course, they’re only 8 and 5 – but since underaged drinking starts being a problem around here at 11, we think it’s important that we share our values early…
(and don’t get me started on sex. Yikes.)
You sound like a GREAT mom! Maybe if my mom was open like that I wouldn’t have been so interested in underage drinking and getting drunk every SAT. night once I was of age. Luckily nothing bad ever happened and I turned out o.k. I hope I handle things so calmly when my boys are teenagers – YIKES!!! That petrifies me!
Wow, Elizabeth. I too was taken back to my own underage drinking experiences. Being tall I was able to get served at the liquor store at 15. I would dress up in my one and only business suit (why I had one at 15 I don’t know!) and take everyone’s orders. Scary! Despite this I think that most of us (myself included) turned out OK and, as far as I know, none of us has a major drinking problem. You should be proud of how you handled this because the truth is, she’d do it anyway. At least you know that she trusts you enough to let you in.
Wow. I think you handled it perfectly, Elizabeth. And honestly, I think your last paragraph says it all. If you have parented well, then the (obviously two-way) trust will be enough. She sounds like a really good girl and you guys are lucky to have each other. IMHO, this is precisely the right way to parent an adolescent. Kudos to all three parents and to cupcake, as well.
I only hope I can do as well when it is my daughter in the passenger seat ordering booze ;P
I am dreading the day I have to deal with this at my house. That’s awesome that she is so open with you. I think I would have driven off the road at that point!
All I can say is … oh my! Oh and, it’s great that she will talk to you about these things and a testament to your skill as a mother!