Two things of note happened yesterday.
1) I received my highly anticipated review copy of Allyson Kramer’s Great Gluten-Free Vegan Eats From Around the World.
2) I swore out loud for the first time in my life.
My parents aren’t cussing folks. I’ve never heard so much as a “shoot” from them.
(Although my dad was notorious for saying, “doggone-it you turkey,” when provoked.)
Now, I’m not putting it past them to have let loose a few swears in their lifetime, but if they have, I was not a witness to it.
So, it was made clear from a young age what was expected of me, & clean language was one of them.
In my early years, I knew that things like “butt” & “stupid” were what my parents called “inappropriate,” & I’m pretty sure by the 5th grade I knew the slew of most cuss words out there, & knew that I shouldn’t say them, so, remarkably I didn’t. Not even once.
I realize this is hard to believe. That in this world a person could go their whole life without saying one cuss word.
Sure, I have my fair share of 1950′s style euphemisms. Fiddlesticks, flip, & darn being my most used terms. I reserve freakin’ & crap for serious situations that warrant their usage.
Also I should mention that growing up in a small town where everyone knew at least one of my relatives, instilled a great deal of godly fear in me.
This is all really besides the point.
I want to get to yesterday, & how it was that I swore for the first time.
I take my kids to the pool nearly every day. The pool is a part of our HOA, so it’s free to everyone in our subdivision. As you might imagine, it’s usually a bustling place in 90 & 100 degree weather.
We had just come from the library & we stopped by the pool for a pre-dinner swim.
As I walk into the pool I see a half a dozen or more teenagers milling about the front end, near the entrance. Some of them are smoking, & drinking out of red cups, which seems a little suspect. I admit, I may be a little Pollyanna, but I’m not stupid. I did go to high school & it wasn’t that long ago.
I look closer & many of them had open beer cans, in the pool. Yes, they are in the pool, smokin’ & drinkin’, blaring their profanity-laced music.
Did I mention they are underage?
Now this is not at 9 pm (which wouldn’t have made it any less wrong, just less stupid), but at 5 in the afternoon. So there are lots of little kids there, which is part of the reason I immediately grab Salem (my 2 year old) & run over to the model homes office near the pool.
Another parent shows up a little after me.
“Who can I call about the smoking & drinking kids in the pool, or else I’m going to have to beat the *!%$ out of them,” he says, still dripping with pool water.
We explain the situation to the office lady. She is unable to contact anyone from the HOA & are told to call the sheriff. It’s just “kids being kids,” & the sheriff needs to “deal with it,” we are told.
We walk back to the pool. I say, “So you going to call the sheriff?”
“No, the sheriff won’t do anything. He’ll just say it’s a private matter.”
Whether or not that is true, is insignificant because not a moment later, I walk into the pool area to see the perpetrators still there, only now more of them are in the pool, most with a Bud Light can in hand. One girl apparently is done with hers & dumps the remainder in the pool.
As I watch this minor pour her beer into the water, something inside me snaps. I don’t know what I am going to say, but I know I am going to say something.
The words seem to fly out of my mouth, coming from a place I know not where.
Me: “Is that beer?”
Her: ”No.” Shakes head. Scared.
Me: “Don’t lie to me. It says Bud Light on the can.
Her: It’s not.
Me: Let me tell you something, I have four kids here & there are plenty of other little kids here too. I do not appreciate you all smoking & drinking in the pool. You are not supposed to be drinking, yet you are & I’m telling you, you had better get the (insert biblical swear word here) out of here.”
My best mean face, with venom shooting out of my eyes, I had no idea I was capable of such a bold & confrontational exchange.
A cohort interjects, & tells me that I don’t need to yell & why was I asking her if she was drinking beer if clearly she was & that “obviously” she was going to lie about it.
I say a few more words, but at this point, the crowd scatters & the hooligans grab their stuff & leave.
When you’re a mom, there are times when this primordial instinct to protect your children comes out of nowhere. You turn into mama bear, & will do anything to protect your children.
I’m not opposed to (over-age) people drinking if they choose, or smoking, or even listening to loud profane music if they chose.
But there’s a time & a place for that–a night club, a bar, in your own home, but not in the middle of the day at a family community pool, especially if you have no business drinking in the first place since you’re a minor.
Have you ever surprised yourself by saying or doing something to protect yourself or a loved one?