11 June 2003

The next time I think I am a bad mother...

Remind me of today. I am a fabulous mother. Once I am able to get past the many layers of guilt ala my Catholic upbringing that I feel for minor mothering flaws and let go of the illusion that perfection is the only acceptable result of my efforts, I would even dare to say I am one of the best mothers I know. And I know some damn fine mothers.

Today my fineness was laid out before me in all its glory. The birthday party saga from my previous post only got worse. Worse beyond my worst imagining. I had Kiah call one more time before we left to take her. I figured certainly they would answer the phone seeing as how it was 10 minutes until party time. Nope. No answer. I had told Kiah the night before that it really bothered me that there was never any answer. I told her something was fishy. I told her.... and my gut told me....something is not right. So I took her to the party with the preface that if I felt in *any* way uncomfortable with things she would not be allowed to stay. We arrived to find the birthday girl outside welcoming guests. Just her. No parent. No adult of any kind. When I asked where her mother was I was told that she was 'on her way home' from work. What the fuck is that all about? If you are going to throw a birthday party for your kid, it seems like you would do it at a time when you didn't have to be at work, right? I guess not. I opted to wait a few minutes until the mother got home before yanking Kiah away from the party. A few minutes passed....and then a few more.... and more.... and then I was brought the telephone with the mother on the other end telling me that she would be home in 1/2 an hour! Once again....What the fuck??!!! Here it was nearly a full hour after the stated start time and no mother in sight. No way. She told me that her neighbor keeps an eye on them while she is at work and that I could go and meet the neighbor if I wanted to. I met the neighbor and he creeped me out more than the idea of leaving the girls alone! Mullett man, handle bar mustache, motor cycle in his LIVING ROOM, with his arm stuck up the ass end of a fish he was cleaning out. He was more concerned with explaining to me why he was not gainfully employed than how he was in charge of caring for a child. He did manage to tell me that his own child, a 14 year old boy, was running around somewhere in the apartment complex too. Somehow this was supposed to comfort me. At that point I felt like throwing up.

I made the most unpopular decision to take Kiah away from there. I told her we would return later when the mother was home and I would decide then if she would be allowed to stay at all. I also took it upon myself to inform other parents as they were dropping off their children of the situation. They all took the same action as me and did not allow their children to stay. Naturally, Kiah was pissed with me but I could tell that she was also somewhat relieved. (She later confessed to me and her sister that the neighbor was indeed creepy. ) When we returned later, mom was still not home. I told Kiah 15 minutes I would wait and then that was it. She arrived 13 minutes later appolgizing profusely for running late. I had to refrain from going off on her. Don't appolgize to me - appologize to your child for neglecting her. Appolgize to your child for teaching her that all that had gone down was a normal and acceptable way of handling things.

I ended up allowing Kiah to stay. She is only allowed to be there for a few hours. The party was supposed to be a slumber party. When hell freezes over. I feel like *I* am a neglectful mother for allowing her to stay at all, but I had a serious talk with her before I left her there. I laid down the rules - if the mom leaves *OR* if anyone that makes her feel at all uncomfortable shows up she is to call me immediately. If she can't get to a phone fast enough she is to just leave and go to her grandma's house a couple blocks away and call me. I told her I trust her but I don't trust others. I told her to be as angry as she needs to be at me for about it all, that was fine, I understand. Go ahead and blame her embarassment on me being overprotective. And that I trust that she too will do the same for her daughter some day. Because that is what *GOOD* mothers do.

And I am a good mother.

so now I sit and wait. the time can't pass fast enough until I am due to go pick her up. I have to resist the urge to go and park my car across the street and set up watch. Maybe that isn't a bad idea....

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