How did she do it?

In my very first post, I introduced the name of my blog, “Truth is Stranger than Fiction”, and let me tell you,  I hit the blog material jackpot today. Really. Someone I know was very recently car-jacked. (That in and of itself is a bit of a phenomenon, isn’t it? ) Anyhow, her stolen car was consequently used in a bank robbery–which is also totally crazy. But here’s the part you could not make up– the bank robber was a 14- year- old girl. Yep. 14 years old. And all I could think when I heard this (after, of course, being appropriately horrified and sorry for my friend–who is okay, thank God), is that I really want to talk to this girl’s mother. But not for the reasons you might think. I try not to judge- really, I try. I mean, at the end of some very long days of motherhood, sometimes all you can say when your head hits that pillow is “well, no one’s in juvie. Or jail.”  I know– the craziness of the day when that’s my comfort is beyond pathetic– but be real- we’ve all been there.

So what I really want to ask her is this: How did you do it?  How did you raise a 14-year-old that is savvy and responsible enough to rob a bank? And apparently, this was not her first time, but her 4th time! That means 3 other times she didn’t get caught! I am as guilty as the next person for second-guessing my parenting skills– Am I  too hard or too soft? More rules, less freedom or more freedom less rules? Privileges, bed times, curfews, parties, sleepovers, sports, bad habits…I’ve struggled with the best of them.

It’s got to take A LOT of careful planning and a well-thought  out scheme to pull off a bank robbery, and I just want to pick her brain for some tips. Because here’s the thing: I have a child who is almost 20 and one who is almost 14– and let’s just say that neither of them, so far, appears to be “bank robber” material. Fabulous, loving, talented in many other ways, but hard to imagine them pulling off a gig like this one.  And #3 is still pretty underage as far as robbing a bank goes…but a mom can hold out hope, can’t she? (I have to be honest–it’s not very promising, so far, thanks in part to our fabulous Children’s Pastor at church. Sigh.)

Just this morning I reminded one of them that their retainer was sitting on the kitchen table. I sometimes have to ask if people have taken showers and used deodorant. I discover overdue library material. I find money, iPods, keys, ATM cards. Dishes are left on the table, chores are ‘forgotten’, the dog goes hungry >Insert Big Sigh Here< Where have I gone wrong? I mean, I’m not advocating or making light of a life of crime– but the poker face alone, required for such a task would likely disqualify my kids. One of them would have far too many sketchy facial expressions, nervous throat clearing and “umms”, while the other one would be on her knees praying for forgiveness while the money was still hot.

What’s a mom to do? So that’s all I want. Just a little insight and direction on how she managed to raise a 14-year-old who is able to carry out such a meticulous (and three times successful) plan. Of course I’ll have to navigate just how much I put to use.  I’ll  have to draw the line somewhere, I’m sure. After all, she does have someone in jail tonight and I, thankfully, do not.  So for today, I will cut my kids some slack. I must be doing  a few things right.

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