*This post is my first entry into the Blogging for Books contest*
Write about a pivotal point in your life as a parent, OR write about a pivotal point in your relationship with one of your parents.
The quarters were disappearing.
We kept them on my dresser in the "wedding box" - a small, cheesy jewelry box decorated with shells, glitter paint and a plastic wedding cake couple. They were for the giant washing machine in the laundry room that we thankfully didn't need to use much. We also tossed a few in the car now and again for toll-booth encounters during our bi-annual trips to Wisconsin.
I never checked the box and I never knew from one day to the next how many coins were in there. It's not my thing. My husband is the money person in our family (and the math person - I'm the one who writes the thank you notes). He noticed one day that the level of quarters seemed a bit low since he had just put a handful in the box a few days earlier. He asked if I had done any laundry in the laundry room lately, but alas, I hadn't had much time to wash the comforters since our three-year old daughter was born. And with a new baby in the house . . . well, washing a comforter wasn't real high on my list of things to do at the time.
My husband suggested that perhaps the nanny was taking the quarters, which was highly unlikely since our nanny's family back in Mexico had more money than God and she was only doing this job for "fun" (and to get away from her rich family for awhile). Not that rich people don't swipe other people's quarters, she just wasn't the type. And I didn't want to contemplate the possibility that we were leaving our children with someone who could have even such minor criminal inclinations.
I promised to keep my eye on the wedding box for awhile to see if I could figure out where the quarters were going.
One night, I was folding laundry in my bedroom with my three-year old running back and forth between my room and hers. After one particularly quick round trip, she jumped up on my bed and giggled. My child laughed often but she wasn't much of a giggler and this particular giggle sounded mighty suspicious.
I gave her my serious mommy look, "What are you doing?"
*giggle* "Nothin'" *giggle* *smirk*
Narrowing my eyes and leaning closer, "Ok. What's up? What were you doing in your room?"
*giggle* "Putting moneys in my piggy bank." *giggle*
Hmmm. "What money?" Click - lightbulb. "Are you taking quarters out of the wedding box?"
"Uh huh!" Full out laughter now.
I started to laugh with her.
And then it hit me. She was stealing. Granted, it was small and in the scheme of things, it wasn't a big deal. And she was young. But the responsibility for teaching her right from wrong falls to me and her dad and we believe that children are never too young to start learning important lessons. And as much as I wanted to laugh with her and be her friend, I knew deep down that although I am and will be many things to her throughout the rest of my life, I cannot be her friend. I am her teacher, her mentor, her shoulder to cry on. I am her rock, her role model and her coach. At that moment, I realized how much responsibility it is to be a parent.
So, I lectured her on the evils of stealing, sent her to a time out and took her favorite doll away. Then I went back into my room, closed the door and laughed my ass off.