Posted 09-20-2003 at 18:41:07
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...that I wished the earth would open up and swallow me, it was today. I got a phone call at about 2:30. It was the lady from the little Mexican store down the road. Somehow in the midst of her excited spanish/english diatribe, I got that Jake had been caught trying to steal a can of Copenhagen. The police...were on the way.
I relayed this information to Fred who was on the couch watching football.
"What do we do?" I asked, holding the phone against my stomach.
"What did we say we would do if this day ever came?" Was his reply.
"Leave him to sort it out on his own."
"Then do it."
I told the lady to do what she needed to do. I see this woman every day, she apologized profusely and I assured her that she had nothing to be sorry for. Ten minutes later I got a call from a sheriff's deputy asking me to come down there. I didn't ask why, I just said I would, and I hung up and started to put my shoes on.
"Don't go." Fred said.
"I have to go, he asked me to, and I want you to come with me." I was rushing around searching for my keys and my wallet.
"Nope, and you shouldn't go either."
I was steaming. Lazy so and so.
"Then I'll just deal with it by myself!" Out the door I went, slamming it firmly behind me.
All the way there I practiced what I was going to say. I was prepared to have to make a decision. If they asked me if I wanted them to take my son to jail, I was prepared to tell them yes.This is what he has been told would happen if he got into trouble with the police. When I arrived I found Jake handcuffed, sitting in the back of the police car. I was informed, behind the deputies hand, that this really wasn't a hanging offense, so to speak, so they had decided, collectively that he would be required to apologize and would be banned from the store unless he was with an adult.
I said, it may not be a hanging offense to you, it's not your son. He said, you might as well take him home. So I ended up bringing him home. I had done real well about not crying on the way up there, but I cried all the way home. I cried out of humiliation and shame and disappointment. I cried because I wanted them to take Jake to jail. Not because I don't love him, but because I felt that he needed to go. He needed to know what it felt like.
Jake sat there wringing his hands.
"What did Fred say?" He asked. The kids all call him Fred. Don't ask me why, he's their biological dad, they just always have.
"He refused to come with me."
"He's gonna kill me isn't he?"
"Don't you think he should?"
"Yeah....I guess so."
Then he gave me his version of the story that ended up with him admitting that he did try to steal the Copenhagen.
"Well, now you are going to be known as a thief. You are banned from a store, Jake. Do you know what that means? I have never been banned from anyplace in my life."
When we got home I went inside and Jake stayed outside, waiting to be summoned. Fred sat up when I walked in the door.
"Well what?" I was not in the mood to discuss it with him. In my opinion, he let me down.
I told him.
"Well, then we need to figure out what his punishment is going to be."
"No WE don't. You could not be bothered to go down there with me and help me face this. I needed your support and you let me down. I will decide his punishment. When you go down there and deal with the sh*t then you can deal out the punishment."
He got real quiet for a few minutes and then he sat up and laced his fingers together, his hands hanging between his knees.
"I know you're upset, so I'm going to let that pass. You can assign any punishment you like, but first of all, as far as I'm concerned, he is not going hunting with me the rest of the year. Furthermore, his three wheeler is going to be sold. He wouldn't walk that far, so without it, chances are he wouldn't be in trouble right now."
"You just SAT there!" I shouted with tears in my eyes. "And let me go down there by myself!"
"That's right I did."
"That's unforgivable, Fred."
"Well, then don't forgive me. But I am not at fault here, you are not at fault. Jake is at fault. We have talked about this time and time again and we knew this day was coming and we agreed on what we would do and you were weak. You went to his rescue. Plain pure and simple. If you hadn't gone down there, he would be cooling his heels in a cell and he would be in a world of hurt right about now, and maybe, just maybe, that would have had an impact on him."
"They TOLD me to come."
"And you should have told them no."
"Well I'm sorry, I'm new at this. This is the first time I've had to go deal with a situation like this."
"I understand that, but if you remember I told you not to go."
He was right. I knew he was right about everything. If I had refused to respond they would have had no other recourse but to take him in, assuming the store owner had pressed charges, which I feel sure she would have as they have an obligation to do so when it involves a controlled substance.
As it stands he has lost his three wheeler for good, his hunting for the rest of the year and is grounded for one month from any social activities, but one thing is for certain, if there is a next time, I will not go. I will not respond. I'm hoping there won't be a next time. I hope that he has learned his lesson. While he was sitting in the police car, as far as he was concerned he was going to jail. With any luck at all that image will stay with him for awhile.