When I was in high school, with the odd exception, I toed the line. I played sports, wrote for the paper and the yearbook, acted in pays and ran for class office. My weekends were generally spent hanging out with the track and field gang. TP’ing houses, though maybe not the best thing to do, was certainly better than most. It kept us occupied, and frankly made my parents laugh as they let me know I had some cleaning up to do in our front yard. Again. Or the time I tp’d one of their fellow Rotarian’s neighbor’s house. Yes, neighbor. It sucked. The intended victim caught us in the act. Oh the teen age mortification.
Anyway, one of the times I screwed up was, well, it was a really big screw up. It was like I saved up all the times I didn’t misbehave and I crammed ’em all into one, wine cooler fueled evening of stupidity. The gang decided to pull an all nighter and it turned out that I didn’t have the chops for it. Not far into a 2 liter of the sweet, bubbly, you-won’t-taste-the-alcohol-until-you-are-too-far-gone-to-stop orange California Cooler I began to get a tad bit clumsy. I’ll cut to the chase as I don’t particularly enjoy reliving this memory, not because it’s that embarrassing (though it it), but because I am now a mom. And I know with utter certainty that no matter how great a job we do, our girls will be lured, and there will be boys where they are lured. Bad things can happen when luring happens.
The other night I was putting Briar to bed and she was rubbing my leg absentmindedly as I read to her. At one point she stroked my knee and looked up at me.
“What happened to you mama?”
I looked at the three inch scar that spanned my knee cap and then over at the thumb print sized scar off to the side, punctuating the larger one.
“How’d you fall, mama?”
“Mama, fell down in a river. She cut her knee.”
Her eyes darkened and her brow furrowed.
“Mama is ok. It happened a long time ago.”
“Mama fell down and hurt herself in the river. You fell in the river and got a boo boo on yourself.”
“Yes, but I am all better now.”
“You felled in the river, but yourself is all better now in your knee where you got the boo boo in the river.”
“Briar fell and hurt her knee in the river. Ow my knee, it hurts.”
“No honey, you didn’t fall in the river. Mom did. She wasn’t careful adn she fell. You will be careful and you won’t hurt yourself in the river.” Please god don’t let her fall down drunk in a river with boys and stupid girls who will leave her on the floor in a convenience store.
“Briar no can fall in the river so she cannot hurt herself. Mama is all better now. She not gonna fall in the river again.”
Since then she has reminded at random intervals that once I hurt myself in a river.
I am very sorry now. And I am very hopeful that somehow we can keep the lure of being bad at bay.