Monday, 7 March 2005

bringing out the mother in me

today i learned something about myself that i wish i didn't have to learn
i've wondered, as my children have been growing up, how i would react if someone, anyone, ever hurt one of my children
and today i found out
at 10:35 this morning i received a frantic phone call from my daughter .. she was hysterical, making it difficult for me to understand her .. but i understood the urgency in her voice and through her tears, i managed to make out a few words " ... hit me .. my face .. i'm leaving ... "

i told her i couldn't understand .. to speak slower .. the story poured out of her .. one of her schoolmates confronted her during break .. when my daughter tried to walk away, the girl grabbed her by her hair and punched her several times in the face

i told my daughter not to leave the school grounds but to get over to the office immediately and that i'd meet her in the principals office in 10 minutes
i heard one of her friends say "i'll walk with you to the office" and i told her goodbye
while packing up my stuff from the office, i called the school and informed them that i'd be there in 10 minutes and i wanted the principal to meet me there

it was the longest drive of my life .. except perhaps when my daughter had called from the high school that night to tell me she fell and needed to go to the hospital .. i tried calling her father on the way drive to school but his cell phone was turned off .. ah yes .. thats what he does when he's on the plane making his way over to hawaii
the vice principal met me at the front door when i arrived .. as he was leading me back to my daughter, i glanced into his office at a familiar face .. it was one of the friends that had attended my daughters 13th birthday party .. "is that her?" i asked him .. he nodded yes .. without thinking, i headed towards his office .. he pulled me back telling me that my daughter needed me
my heart is breaking for my daughter as i write this .. she's sleeping now .. filled with as much Motrin as her little 14 year old body can stand .. an icepack pressed against her sore jaw
i don't think i'll ever forget the look on my daughters face as i entered the nurse's office .. the tear stained face .. she broke out sobbing and i rushed to her and put my arms around her .. when her tears quieted, i gently asked her to tell me what happened

once i learned that my daughter had tried to walk away 3 times from the confrontation and had never thrown a punch or laid a hand on the girl, i turned to the principal and told him .. "i need the police called immediately" .. there was no doubt in anyones mind that i'd be pressing charges

this entire mess is over one a mutual "friend" .. the same little girl that stole my daughters ATM card and drained her account .. when the police called my daughter last night after her "friend" ran away from home, it didn't occur to my daughter NOT to try to help them find her .. even she knows that a 14 year old shouldn't be out on the streets

and there was one little girl at her school that thought she needed to be taught a lesson in helping the police

and now that same little girl is getting a lesson of her own .. a citation for battery .. a 5 day suspension from school .. she's facing court, probation and community service .. and also a restraining order if i feel it necessary that one be filed .. threat of expulsion should she ever feel the need to take the matter up with my daughter again

my daughter told me of her shame through her tears .. how she tried to avoid the confrontation .. that she ducked and tried to leave, but it happened so fast that she never thought of hitting the girl back .. "mom .. what if they tease me for not fighting back?"
with the principal there i told my daughter what i knew .. that if she would have hit back, even in self-defense, that it would not be a case of assault but it would be a "fight" and she would also be facing suspension .. the principal nodded in agreement

"sometimes its a good thing when you don't have time to think .. and in this case, it kept YOU from getting into trouble too"

i've tried to stress over and over to my daughter that in every way possible she did the right thing .. and tomorrow (i hope) when she returns to school, she needs to keep doing the right thing and not add fuel to the fire by talking about the incident with anyone
except she has my permission to discuss whatshappened with one of her friends .. the girl that kept putting herself between my daughter and the schoolmate in an attempt to stop the fight .. the only one at that school that was yelling for the girl to stop .. the one that walked my daughter to the office

and tonight i'm calling that girls parents .. to tell them how grateful i am to their daughter for putting herself in harms way to try to protect my daughter .. and to let them know how much it meant to my daughter to have such a good friend

the school has been made aware of this little girls heroic actions .. and i also let them know how grateful i was to her .. we should all have such a good friend

with my daughters permission, i've got a phone call in to my daughters 2nd mother (i hate the term step-mother) who has self-defense classes under her belt .. i'm signing my daughter up for those classes as soon as i can .. and it breaks my heart that i'm bringing my daughter up in a world where its necessary to physically defend yourself for doing the right thing

tonight, when she wakes up for her nap, we'll practice what to say to her schoolmates tomorrow when she refuses to talk about what happened .. i made my daughter promise me that she refused to let a few girls scare her into not going to school .. and she promised

its not often that i want to hurt someone .. its just not my nature .. but when i saw that girl sitting in the principals office i knew, without a doubt, that i could indeed inflict bodily injury on another person .. and if when all is said and done, the girl has NO fear of the consequences of laying a hand on my daughter .. i WILL make sure that girl has some fear

nobody, but me, ever hurts my child

if anybody has any words of wisdom, a voice of experience, i sure could use it now .. i'm amazed, still, how protective i was of my daughter .. my need to let her grow up without fear .. what i wouldn't give to be able to save her from pain .. from fear ..

but at the very least, she knows how proud i am of her .. for doing the right thing, regardless of the cost .. "doing the right thing is always the hardest thing to do" .. shes made me proud and i'm making sure she knows it

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