Sunday, July 26, 2009
One Child Left Behind
Hey, I'm a teacher! It's a play on words. But not entirely because I have been left behind. Now remember all the hoo-haw about the woman who dropped off her teenage girls and left them to sort out their differences away from the backseat? She got a lot of crap, and yet how many of us mothers can really relate to that? I've been in a car accident because my now 17-yr-old could not handle sitting in a carseat. She'd fuss and scream, so I'm driving while turning to console her (that's a nice way of saying to get her to stop screaming!) and BLAM! Rear end. That's back in the day when insurance wasn't a requirement so that one was on her insurance company (she is paying those premiums for a reason...) Not to mention I was twenty and a child myself. That's besides the point--we've all wanted to drop off our children! Many years ago small children were required to work to pay for their family's needs, girls were sold off to marriage before their armpit hair grew to its fullness to require shaving, and children were expected to behave at all times around adults. Nowadays, kids are sheltered and overprotected, and mostly for good reason. I'm not slamming that...but she left two older girls pretty close to their house in their community in which they were comfortable and familiar. Well, I don't know all the specifics, what I DO know is that it shouldn't have made national news. The woman had to decide if she should drive into the light pole or drop off the cats fighting in the back of the car. She went with Option B and spent 15 minutes of fame being ridiculed. Oh brother. Let me at those little girls! They don't even know what it meant to be dropped off in MY day...I say that like it was so long ago--but I guess that's all relative. Picture it--I'm about 9 or 10 and my sister is 15 months younger (yeah, that's a WHOLE other blog about dealing with losing all the attention after a measly 15 months)...and we did not get along. My dad threatened to pull over all the time. It got to where we'd go 'yeah yeah' and then, 'where were we sister dear?' bwaaaah! But on one particular day my father had had enough. It was just the two of us at the time instead of all five of us siblings. We were in Utah where his family lived and we visited every year. I remember driving through this run down town that looked like the people were so desperate for outsiders that they'd make you mayor for showing up to use their gas pumps. My sister and I were tangled in all out war on each other when my dad cut across the lines and pulled into some dusty parking lot in front of a wooden store (do they make stores all wooden any more?) and said, 'get out.' My sister and I were quiet, waiting him out and figuring out our next move on each other. Car didn't move. 'go on, get out!' we looked at each other...is this for real? We shrugged at each other and slowly removed ourselves from his vehicle with utter reluctance considering our surroundings. Now, if he had said this in front of a McDonald's I could have pulled some 'poor me' stunt and had cheeseburgers until my mom sent him back for us. But NOOOOO, in the middle of nowhere. nowhere where where where (are you getting the echo effect?) Once the last bit of my shoe exited the car and the door slammed behind me he sped off. Picture tumbleweeds wheeling by, frogs croaking, banjos playing and that's the scene around me. Even if I did play orphan girl and tried to sponge money off the locals, they'd still have made me mayor and then not given me a dime that they didn't but wished they had. We stood there, side by side, watching down the road for any life let alone a sign that he was returning. Quiet...even the locals were too bored with their nothing town to make a fuss over the two lonely children abandoned by their father. Nowadays, we'd have made headlines. We would be fighting the paparazzi just to get to the payphone to call for a ride. No, not then...at that time people backed up my father's decision to take Option B. In fact, they wouldn't have expected nor accepted anything less. We stood there until we realized he wasn't coming back. We found a wood (of course, right?) bench to park our seats, praying we didn't stand up to find splinters in our behinds. I don't know how long we sat there, probably until the good angel on my dad's shoulder finally pulled the halo around the mouth of the bad angel to shut him up and talked my dad into turning around to retrieve his daughters. In any case, the ride back to grandma's was awfully quiet and we survived the lesson. Now where are my fifteen minutes?