“With a few flowers in my garden, half a dozen pictures and some books, I live without envy.”
Saturday, March 25, 2006
Tea with a really bad mother....
Nancie Thorne told "The Seattle Times" that her 15-year-old daughter, Suzanne, was in the house when the man opened fire. She said the girl’s boyfriend called her Saturday morning to say that they had gone to the house following an electronic dance party on Friday night – a "zombie rave." "It’s the worst phone call a mom can get," Thorne said, crying. "She shouldn’t have gone to the rave. I’ve never approved of those things... I just hope to God she’s alive. And if she is, she’s grounded for life."
I would like to invite Nancie Thorne over for a cup of tea and use the opportunity to give her some parenting advice, provided I could restrain myself from slapping her silly for giving other hippie mothers a bad name.
Provided I could, here's what I'd say:
Nancy, are you on crack? No, wait, don't answer that. But really, sister, just because one is a free-wheeling, earth-biscuit type is no reason not to be a good mother.
What do I mean by that? How can you ask such a question? Did you not tell the Seattle Times reporter that you never approved of raves? And what did you do? You let your daughter go anyway.
What do you mean by, "What was I supposed to do?" I'll tell you what you were supposed to do. You were supposed to say, "No, Suzanne, you aren't going to the rave because I don't approve of them." And if she talked back you took everything she valued away - cell phone, Dayglo hair dye, nose ring - until she remembered just who was in charge.
Please, stop saying how you could never do that becaus you want to be your daughter's friend. If you can stop crying for a second, I'll tell you a little story about the time I had to break my oldest daughter's heart. She was eleven and had made me a card that said, "I love you, mommy. You're my best friend." I hugged her, thanked her for the card and informed her that while I would always try to be the best mommy I could be, I could not her friend, at least not until she was an adult. You see, my job is not to be my kids' non-judgemental buddy, but their guide and protector, a leader strong enough to - for instance - tell them they can't go to a "rave" full of crazed druggies.
Now that she's 20 and on her own, my daughter is my best friend. And do you know why? Because I earned her respect. You know what else? Even as a young adult, she still values my counsel, because she knows I have her best interest at heart. While her other friends tell her what she wants to hear, I'm the one she counts on to always tell her the unvarnished truth.
What's that, Nanci? But you are trying to be tough? You said you plan to ground Suzanne? For what? For doing something you let her do? Silly rabbit, the time to be strong is before your daughter is in a situation that puts her life at risk, not after.
Really, Nanci. It's parents like you who make me sick. Up until now I haven't actually had the chance to tell one of you how I felt. I don't know how you feel, but I feel a whole lot better. Thanks for stopping by.