Recently, my daughter got into some trouble at school. Now, this wasn’t anything serious. Nothing that warranted, say, a suspension or even a trip to the principal’s office. What my child did was talk when she was on the blue line in the cafeteria.
I know, an egregious offense.
As was explained to me, when you’re on the blue line in the cafeteria, you’re not allowed to talk. It’s when you’re on the red line that talking is allowed. Simple, right? Well, apparently not for my child who, is very much her mother’s daughter.
Those of you who know me and those of you that have ever come into contact with me know that I”m a talker.
No, really. It’s practically a diagnosed condition.
I will talk to anyone at any time. I converse with the people in front and behind me in line at the grocery store, the patients waiting at the doctor’s office, and the women trying on clothes in a dressing room. My kids have spent countless hours tugging me away from someone I am chatting with.
The point is, the apple most certainly doesn’t fall far from the tree.
So, when my child sat in my car with her eyes brimming with tears, I was terrified. I felt certain some mean girl had done some damage to her self esteem or some Bieber-wanna-be with that stupid haircut had broken her heart. I was geared up for a fight. I was ready to drive back to the school and demand swift and severe punishment for whomever it was that had caused my child pain.
Imagine my surprise when her little voice choked out, “I was talking while on the blue line.”
“What?” I asked, thoroughly confused as I’m not proficient in middle school protocol.
A tear slowly made its way down her cheek as she continued to tell me the rules and how she’d broken them. When I finally understood, I couldn’t help it.
Emily looked at me as though I had three heads. Quickly, I tried to explain myself.
“Honey,” I said, “I’m forty-four years old and I still haven’t figured out how to keep my mouth shut! And if this is the worst thing I ever have to deal with, I’m good!”
The look of relief on her face nearly made me weep. I’m certain she felt she was going to be punished severely.
Now, I’m certain there are some of you that disagree with my handling of the situation but I will hold firmly to my position. In the overall scheme of raising a child, this is a minor blip on the screen. Compared to what I could be dealing with, I’ll take a chatter box any day of the week.
Did I, even in some small measure, teach her that this infraction isn’t such a big deal? Maybe.
But let me point out that we did talk about her doing her best to keep quiet when she’s suppose to and I hope I conveyed the right message but am I going to ground her? Yell at her? Or take away her cell phone for talking? No. God knows, if that were the case, I’d have lost mine a long time ago.
I honestly feel that compared to what troubles might befall her – drugs, smoking, sexting, gangs – I think we’re doing just fine.
And while I will continue to speak to her about listening to her teachers and respecting the rules, my kid isn’t going to be yelled at for talking when she’s standing on the wrong color line.
And you know what? I’m okay with that.
Donna Small is the author of two novels, Just Between Friends and A Ripple in the Water. Both are available from Second Wind Publishing