As the mom of two teenaged children, while I'd never let them know this, I frequently wonder if I've done the right things. Have I taught them right from wrong? Do they truly understand Stranger Danger? Will they "just say no" when offered drugs or alcohol? When the time comes for sex, will they have the courage to abstain and if they don't, will they be smart enough to protect themselves? These worries are constantly on my mind, especially as they become more and more independent.
Midget (who's fourteen for those of you who are new) and I had a little heart to heart tonight and the topic came up about what a good kid she is. She's got a bad habit of lying to me from time to time to get herself out of trouble, but fortunately for me, she sucks at it and I can usually tell when she's trying to pull one over on me. So anyway, we were talking about how she's a role model for the younger kids in our neighborhood and that I've been told more than once by parents around here how much they appreciate her sticking up for their kids or mother henning them if/when the situation arises. It's always a proud moment for me when someone sees her with me and says "This is your daughter? You should be a proud mom because she..." and they proceed to tell me that she defended someone or ratted out a neighborhood bully or whatever the case may be. And it makes me happy to see the smile that Midget gets when I tell her about these instances.
For whatever reason, as we were talking, she brought up a situation that happened a few months ago with some friends of hers. They were all hanging out at somebody's house and they were smoking. We're a non-smoking home, so to be around cigarette smoke isn't something Midget's used to. Anyway, one of the girls offered her their last cigarette. Midget took it and looked at it and asked the kids, "Why should I smoke this?"
One of them replied, "So you can blend in with us." (Apparently the little thugs watched After School Specials to see how it's done.)
She snorted, looked at them and said "I don't wanna be an idiot." She then proceeded to go outside, toss the cigarette to the ground and stomped it out. Her friends were pissssssssed.
Her mother, however? Proud.
I've taken a lot of flack about not providing my kids everything they want: computers, gaming systems, closets overflowing with designer clothes, blah blah blah. And it's true. I don't give my kids everything they want. I don't believe that sets them on a good path for their life.
But what I have done is given them exactly what they need.
My daughter is already a better person than I was at her age. I gave into my friends. I took the cigarette (and many more after that -- from my mom's stash, mind you) and smoked every damn one of 'em. I lied to my mom about it. Fortunately, I had the brains to stop smoking before I became addicted, but the point is, I gave into peer pressure.
My baby girl didn't.
I won't win every battle as a mom and I know that. But I won this one.
Thank you, Jesus.