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Modern parenting: high school threat edition

21 Apr

In February, Josh and I got to go to Barcelona.  My sister came to watch the kids, and we went off on our well-deserved holiday.  My sister was fabulous, sending updates and pictures and texts about harassing the teens, and I could relax knowing all was well.

Until I got an email from our 16 year old son’s high school, stating there’d been a “threat” and the school was on lockdown.

It was evening in Barcelona, but morning in Seattle.  The threat was detected during first period, and everyone was locked into their first period classrooms.  As time ticked away and the police searched the school for the threat, we waited half a world away for an update.  My sister had plans on going for a hike – instead, she waited at the house in case she had to go get the poor boy released from the school.  Time ticked, and I was getting annoyed that there was no update.  Josh texted the boy, who texted back he was fine.  The teacher ended up turning on “Star Trek: Into the Darkness”.  Eventually we got word that the school would be closed, students released one classroom at a time, escorted by officers off campus safely.

And just when I could breathe again, I got an email from Maura’s school, which is close to the high school, stating that they went on a form of lock down as well.  They have a policy that if the high school goes on lock down, so do they.

Lovely.

But all was well, it was a hoax, we were able to chat with our son through it all.   He wasn’t phased at all, and I tried to remember accounts of my high school days, where people would set fire to bathroom trash cans just to get out of class on a nice afternoon.

It was all behind us.

Then yesterday evening, I get an automated call from the school, telling us that there was a threat of a school shooting the next day scrawled in a bathroom.  My first thought was something like “Oh you have GOT to be f***ing kidding me!”.   The principal went on about how they were working with the police, would have extra security on campus, but school would go on the next day. If students didn’t want to come in that day, they would get an excused absence.

Dinner conversation was a bit like “So Sean…yeah…hear anything about the shooting threat?”

Sean “Yeah, a few friends texted me about it.  Some aren’t going to school tomorrow.”

“What about you?  What do you think?”

Shrugs as only a teenage boy can do.  “Eh, I’m going.”

Meanwhile, Miriam was all “No one’s going to mess with Sean – he’s tough.  Well…tough looking.  He’s actually a big teddy bear.”

Sean grinned and said “Yeah.”

I polled friends on Facebook – because that’s what a modern mom with anxiety issues does.  All my mom friends were all “Aw hell no he’s not going to school!”  My childless friend said “What does the boy want to do?”  Dammit voice of reason!  Which is what I actually needed to hear.  The mom in me was screaming “Keep him home!  Keep him safe!”, but the rational part of my brain was thinking “These are high school kids being stupid.  They have no clue what a scribble like that does to us parents.  The world is an inherently dangerous place, and there is no way to protect them from everything.  Bad things happen. And they have cops there right now.  Really, if anyone was planning anything, it wouldn’t be for today, not with all the extra security wandering about.  Besides, do you really need to pass along your anxiety of all things down to the boy who’s feeling okay about this?  Not really.”

So my son’s at school, and I’m at home, not fretting.  Much.  I’m slightly cursing modern parenting and the special anxieties it causes, definitely cursing flippant teens who think it’s hilarious to scrawl threats in bathrooms, and saying a prayer that today and the rest of the school year goes smoothly.

I’m also considering sending a case of wine to the staff room, because they could probably use it by now.

 

 

 

 

Conversations with the teen girl

28 Mar

Our water line has decided to sprout yet another leak (because our house apparently  hates us), so Josh turned off the water to save some money while we wait for the property manager to get someone out here to fix it, and proclaimed we should just go out to eat to keep from dirtying dishes.

Yes, we’ve been down this road before.

As we drove to the Chinese restaurant, the teen girl announced that “If it’s not on the internet, it doesn’t exist.”

I said “That’s not true.  What about happiness?”

She tried to argue that you could find happiness on the internet.  I countered that you can find things that make you happy, but true happiness comes from the heart and from the mind (which I thought was quite the clever and wise response.)

My sweet little cherub of a teen girl then says “Well, you can buy brains and hearts on the internet.”

“Yes, but that’s illegal.” I said, giving up on being wise and clever.

Josh wanted to know how she knew brains and hearts were sold on the internet.  I told him these are things we really don’t want to know.

I should probably tell the teen girl she can’t sell hearts or brains on the internet.  Because it’s illegal.  And we’re not that kind of people.  We are a kind of people, but not that kind.  We have standards.

 

Random thoughts for this Tuesday night

3 Dec

1. If you were ever on the fence about Michael Caine’s acting abilities, watch “The Muppet Christmas Carol”.  Because dang, can he put in a moving, heartfelt performance surrounded by Muppets.  When Beeker gives him the scarf…<a single man tear>

2. I thought my computer was broken or hacked or messed with by Maura (okay, mostly the latter) because I went to log on, and my mouse was all over the place and every time I tried to click on a link, it would open a new tab.  I spent five minutes freaking out, running the virus scanner, getting frustrated…and then I noticed that a shortcut for the new tab was “control + n”…and it hit me.  I turned off my wireless keyboard, shook it upside down, got the crumbs out….yeah, sticky keyboard strikes again!

3. My friend got me one of those angel chime candle holder things when she went to Denmark.  She had no clue how happy she had made me because we had one of these when I was a child and it always came out at Christmas.  Sure enough, tonight, I pulled it out (for the first time, I’m ashamed to say.)  As usual, Maura was delighted with it all.  The teens however – who had never seen one of these contraptions – were also interested.  They also wanted to know – if it was Swedish, did it come from Ikea?  (No. Denmark.)  And what did Swedish people do when they saw an Ikea? (Duh.  Buy stuff.)

A picture of the elusive teens, lulled into a catatonic state by angel chimes and candles

A picture of the elusive teens, lulled into a catatonic state by angel chimes and candles

 

4.  I’ve been told that it’s unlucky to light candles with lighters. So we lit the angel chime candles with matches.  Just to be safe.

5. I’m out of Bailey’s.  This gives me a bit of the sad.

6. I still have pumpkins outside.  It got cold and snowed the day after Thanksgiving.  So the pumpkins stayed a little longer.  My neighbor still has hers out as well, showing solidarity.

7. Maura insisted we buy this green tinsel tree.  And lights for it.  With the lights on it, it’s a bit wonky, so it’s now my homage to Dr. Seuss, as it is very Whoville.

The lights also twinkle.  Of course.

The lights also twinkle. Of course.

 

 

 

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