For those of you who have been reading my stories for a while now you may be under the impression that my boys are amazing kids who never get in trouble or do anything wrong.
First of all, I would like to apologize if I have misled you in this manner. I mean, they are pretty amazing kids (they are a by-product of moi after all), but they are far from “perfect” and are definitely prone to engaging in mindless, idiotic behavior at times. I’d venture to say more often than not, as most kids their age do, but the way I see it, more often than not, they just don’t get caught engaging in harmless & mindless, idiotic behavior.
Take for instance my 15 year old’s fascination with climbing on to buildings or humping bathroom stall poles:
However, on occasion they are bound to get caught and often times the consequences can be rather serious.
It was exactly 9:15 I was chilling in the back patio with my brother and my best friend having one of our endless and engaging conversations….this one being about sex, when I decided to text my 15 yr old: “what time are u gonna b ready?”
I had dropped him off at the mall about two hours earlier to partake in his weekend hangout ritual that most young teens partake in because at their age there’s nothing else to do.
No more then 30 seconds after I had sent the text a phone call came through. I looked at the screen. It was a 305 local number, but I didn’t recognize it. I have a rule never to answer unknown numbers, but since my son can’t make phone calls anymore (because he has dropped it so many times and thinks it’s ok to take a shower with it), he’s forced to have to call me from friends’ phones, some of which I do not have registered into my own phone.
Instinct told me to answer the call, “Hello.” A mans voice came through on the other line and asked for me by name. I said she wasn’t available and asked if he wanted to leave a message. He started to inform me that he was a security officer at the mall (where my son was at) and suddenly my heart beat a little harder and I was forced to sit up straight in my chair. One of my biggest fears is that I will receive a phone call from authorities informing me that my son was caught shoplifting. Now, it’s not that I have any reason to believe my son would shoplift for he has no need to and aside from the Koolaid packet he stole from a grocery store when he was four years old of which we learned about when he arrived at the dinner table with his mouth covered in red dye and his younger brother sold him out by telling us what he had done, he has never given me the reason to believe that he would steal from a store. However, the doubt rests there in the back of my mind, simply because I realize it is a possibility and that sometimes the temptation in thinking that you can get away with something can be an exhilarating thought. Am I speaking from experience? Of course!! At 14 I was caught shoplifting at a Bradleys Store (spin off of a TJ Maxx). To this day, I still don’t know which was worse: the fact that I got caught while shopping with my godmother and it was probably one of the most disappointing and humiliating moments of her life, or the fact that I got caught stealing a damn hair scrunchie worth $3!
On the other line the man continued to inform me that my son needed to be picked up at the mall by his parents. At that point I dropped my guise and told the security guy that I was his mother. He continued to explain to me that they had my son and his friend in custody because they had decided to get partially undressed (ok, it wasn’t skinny dipping but at least the title got your attention) and take a dip in the water fountain in front of Macy’s. I asked the guy to repeat himself because I wasn’t sure that what I thought I heard him say was not something my mind had invented so as not to hear that he had actually been caught shoplifting. He repeated himself with the same story letting me know that I needed to pick him up and that he would be barred from the mall for the next six months. I let out a sigh of relief that it wasn’t shoplifting and told him I was on my way. I quickly told my brother and my best friend who said, “Isn’t he a bit old for that kind of stuff?” and I took off to the mall.
On my way there I got a text from my son: “Fail.” I wasn’t too sure how he expected me to answer that, so I left it alone and didn’t reply.
As I walked up to where he and his best friend stood with the security officer I thought I saw a smirk spreading ever so sightly on his lips, but I dismissed the thought quickly, “there’s no way he would think this was funny.” I shook hands with the officer barely acknowledging the boys and signed the form that he had waiting for me agreeing that he was not to step foot in the mall for 6 months and if he did he could be arrested. The idea of how they would know that he was barred crossed my mind. Do the security guys carry around a little deck of cards with banned teenage terrorists?? I signed the paper and thanked the security guy and turned to my son, “Let’s go.”
As we walked to the car I turned to him and asked him, “What were you thinking?”
“I was hot and the water felt so nice! So I figured I’d just take a quick dip!”
“Are you serious?? You were hot?? What is wrong with you?”
On the way home he gave me the details:
The mall was beginning to close up, store owners were lowering their gates, the last of the people were beginning to trickle out of the stores. My son and his best friend sat on the edge of the fountain. “Man, this water’s nice bro,” my son said to his friend after touching it with his hand. “Bro, we should get in! We haven’t done anything crazy and stupid in a while!” His best friend wasn’t too convinced with the idea so my son started taking off his shoes and socks and continued peer pressuring him (even though he’s the younger one and the pressuring should be the other way around). He started scoping out the area looking for security officers and everything seemed clear until a mother walked up to the fountain with her baby to splash at the water. She looked at them knowing fully well what they were about to do. “Oh, don’t do that while I’m here,” she pleaded. “I don’t care what you do, but wait until I leave.” It was as though she had given them permission and the added motivation to go through with their mission.
After she walked away and my son felt the area was safe he swooped off his shirt and jumped in, while his best friend, who sat at the edge of the fountain, fell in backwards scuba diver style. They quickly enjoyed the refreshing water and jumped back out and walked over to the rest of the group shaking off their hair as though to show off their mission accomplished status. That’s when my son saw the security officer walking down the hall towards them. They grabbed their shoes and bags and started walking subtly in the opposite direction. “Don’t look back bro, I think there’s a security guy following us,” my son’s best friend said to him. “Yeah, I know man. As soon as we get to the end of the hallway and around the corner we’ll take off and run through the parking lot.”
“Hey, you kids, stop.” The security officer called after them. “Keep walking bro.” But the walk was a little further than they anticipated and the security officer was quickly closing in on them and before they could get to the corner he had caught up to them and told them to stop. It was over at that point; they were busted. Later on the young security guy would tell them that they should have just run…he wouldn’t have chased them.
As he told me the story with excitement and a smile on his face, it took everything in me not to laugh, but I kept up my mommy front, “We’ll discuss this tomorrow when I’m not so upset with you.” And I would. I went through a lecture that compared the mall to being someones house and how you don’t just go into someone’s house and disrespect them by going through the cabinets, or into their room and messing it up, etc, etc. More importantly to me though was a thorough conversation on trust. Trust and communication go hand in hand in my relationship with my children alongside respect. Anything that my kids do that break that trust will cause a deterioration in our relationship and it’s not in their best interest for me not to be able to trust them.
When he was done with the story and saw that I wasn’t showing any sign of amusement he proclaimed, “C’mon mom, you gotta admit, it’s funny!”
“No, it’s not,” I responded looking straight ahead at the road and keeping my face as serious as possible. Finally, I said to him, “Did you guys get it on video at least?”
P.S.: In addition to being banned from this particular mall for six months, I have grounded him from hanging out at any mall until further notice. Funny thing is, he didn’t think it would bother him because “it was getting old”, but since then he has missed two birthday celebrations, and the opportunity to hang out or go to the movies with his girlfriend. So, in the end, harmless & idiotic behavior has come with a high price.
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