I have been so busy writing that I almost forgot a promise that I had made to my granddaughter Courteney some years back, to come to her rescue should things get too tough for her at home and to stand by her no matter what when she felt like she had nowhere to turn and needed a knight in shining armor.
I had made the promise to Courteney during her parent’s divorce, when all of the kids were being pulled and tugged by both sides to make decisions, that little kids should not have been asked to make. It was our secret and I thought, or rather hoped that it would not be necessary to keep. I had hoped her father would have come around and he could be her knight in shining armor and that her mother would guide Courteney through the rough times of adolescence into the becoming a young lady, but this was not to be in either case and this is our story.
The phone rang in the middle of the night and when I looked at the alarm clock next to my bed it was reading 12:30 in the morning and I had to work at 5:30, so I was not a happy camper. My daughter was at the other end demanding that I go across the river and retrieve my granddaughter who was where she should not be and who was on her way home, but taking too long getting there for her mother’s liking. I said no for two reasons one being I could not get a lift at that hour and I do not drive and two because my granddaughter was in no danger and Courteney’s mother needed to start working these things out with Courteney.
What I did not know was that some money had gone missing and without any real proof Courteney was being blamed for it and this had been going on for a while. Everytime Courteney bought something, or had the money to go somewhere there was an accusation from her mom and is that the money you stole that you are spending? The trust and respect issues were now taking over both of their lives and spilling into other trust issues like where could Courteney be trusted to go on her own at 3 days before her 16th birthday. It came to a head with Courteney going where she was not allowed to go since trust became an issue and having her 16th birthday party cancelled and her mother refusing to so much as buy her a birthday cake. Mom and daughter did come to my house for Courteney’s birthday and I did buy a cake. I do not think that Courteney will be forgetting her 16th birthday anytime soon and it could cause a permanent riff between herself and her mom. I hope not because I love them both and this sort of thing just breaks my heart.
My granddaughter called looking to vent and cry and I listened as always and told her to come for a visit, but that lying about where about she was going and disrespecting her mother was not going to be tolerated, or rewarded, but I promised to hold off on judgement until I had a chance to hear her side of the story when she was a little calmer. After school the next day she arrived and we settled down with a soda and she told her side of the story.
Now although the missing money had her name all over it at first glance there was a definite lack of proof and because she does babysit to get extra money and had been doing so lately she did have a different source for the money she was spending so it would appear that mommy without proof was unjustifiably punishing Courteney. It is now that I know that these two people are in need of family intervention and I decide that I will offer to keep my granddaughter with me for the summer.
Offer made and accepted by all parties I settle down to make sure that my granddaughter has all of the values that will help her fight the pulls of nature and her peers and make her transition from child to young lady an easier one. I am sure that Courteney has been taught them by her mother, but her mother just can’t get by the worrying thing and it has created a trust issue. One of the major issues is boys and sexuality and is Courteney truly understanding all of the complications associated with teenagers getting into sexual activity. Courteney is full of questions and is angry that her mother does not trust her. Courteney feels that her mother is keeping her locked up to avoid the inevitable and thinks that this is not fair. Courteney also states that she wishes that just once that an adult would sit down and talk to her about sex honestly and explain to her what they were really afraid of, instead of threatening her, refusing her access to the pill and trying to keep her away from boys. It was not going to be easy, but Courteney was asking for help and I decided to have the sex versus the value of a good education talk with her. I decided that she was too smart for the normal talk and the truth was the better route.
I start off telling Courteney the story of my life in short form, because it is the best way I know to explain to someone how making bad choices can screw you up later in life. Courteney says she wants to be a brain surgeon and that she is not interested in having sex right now and if she was what was the big deal if she did it safely and protected? What is so awful about having sex, is it not normal to want to have it? Courteney also tells me that she is smart enough not to get pregnant.
I tell Courteney that the streets and the low paying jobs are full of people who thought that they could handle sex too early and got mixed up with the wrong crowd and grew up too fast, knew too much and out smarted their own selves crowd; after all who should know better than me? I also told her that there was nothing dirty about sex and that everything she was feeling was normal, but the down side about it at her age is that it became all-consuming and had a way of intensifying other emotions and very often became a distraction to young people’s dreams and aspirations. I told her that the reason grownups wanted young people to wait was because once it was experienced, it could no longer be ignored. Aside from pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases, the search for sex could affect her studies, her concentration and her priorities.
Courteney asked if that is what happened to me and I told her that it was definitely a factor in my not being all that I could have been. I told her that being a father at 19 years old was no picnic either and although I had several chances to go back to school, I just never seemed to be able to do it. Courteney asked me what I had wanted to be and I looked at her and said a doctor, or lawyer. We looked into each others eyes and looked away quickly, neither of us wanting to see the pain, or the pity that they held. Courteney hugged me and gave me a kiss on the cheek and told me that she understood and thanked me for not lying to her and giving it to her straight. I asked her what she understood and she said,” Sex is so good, that is best left alone for now so that it does not interfere with all the things that are not so good tasting, or fun to do, but that I need to accomplish in my life in order to have a great life and a great future.”
I said good night and we hugged again and went to our beds. I am not saying that all will be okay and that Courteney will take my advice, but she has been told the truth and is now in a position to make an informed decision. We have talked about a difficult subject and there were no tears, yelling or orders given. We will have many such talks about many different things over the summer. I will reinforce good values through mutual trust and honesty. I will try to remove the fear factor and develop the morality, trust and respect that should be between loving elders and their children or grandchildren. Courteney in the end will not need to be constantly watched and will do the right thing because she not only has respect for her parents and elders, but because Courteney has respect for herself.
I am glad that I have taken this time to keep a promise to my grandchild. We all get so wrapped up in saving the world and making the world a better place for others that we forget that our own need saving, helping and our attention. I write this to jog your memory, my blogging friends, before you like me, forget to save your own with the same vigor and priority that we save a stranger.
My mother once told me.”Son all you have in this world that only you alone can lose is your word and once it is gone, there is no replacing it.”