I take great pride in my parenting. I just published a little lighthearted encouraging book about parenting called It’s Going to be OK. But life rarely allows us to be on our cloud for long before it smacks the shit out of us and lands us back on the solid ground of reality.
I was traveling back from Florida. I had just released the book a week prior. I got home about 1am. My son, Mel, my fifteen year old, was spending the night at his friend’s house about thirty minutes from where we live. I was almost asleep. I never shut my ringer off when he’s not home because you never know when your kid is going to call you. So when he called at almost 2am, I knew something wasn’t right. I answered and he told me someone wanted to talk to me. Immediately this man starts firing questions off at me. Is Mel my son? Am I his mom? Do I know where he is? At first, I was answering them and then I was like, “who is this? Are you a cop?” To which he replies, “yes, ma’am, I’m sorry I should have told you that at first.” He then goes on to tell me that someone called the cops because two kids were out walking around after curfew. They were only about five minutes away from the friend’s house. I asked if I needed to come get Mel. He said no, not at all, he would be more than happy to take them back to the house. He just wanted to verify what the kids were saying was true, that they were actually fifteen and sixteen, because they are both over six feet tall and they really don’t have any identification. I told him, yes, it’s true and thanked him for taking them back to the house. I asked him to have Mel call me as soon as he got there.
After about ten minutes, I still hadn’t heard from him. So I text him that he better text me. And then I text him that I was coming to get him. And then I called him as I was getting dressed and putting my shoes on and walking out the door. I called him about twenty times back to back and he wasn’t answering. Every single scenario went through my head. I thought his friend had gotten smart with the cops, I thought they had decided to run, I thought they had been beaten because Mel is black in a white country area, I thought that he was shot. Every single bad thing that I could imagine, I imagined. None of them involved Mel being guilty of anything but being out past curfew. I never could have imagined what happened next.
My phone rings and it’s Mel’s number but when I answer, it’s the police officer on the other line telling me that the situation had changed. When they frisked the boys before putting them in the car to take them home, they found weed on Mel’s friend and a gun on Mel. Yes, a gun!! A handgun. I 9mm to be exact. I was dumbfounded. I had no idea that he had a gun. I don’t even have a gun. I didn’t know where he could have gotten it or why he thought it was even ok to have it or especially why he thought it wasn’t the dumbest fucking idea ever to put it in his pocket and walk to Wal-Mart with it at 2 in the damn morning. I tried to get the officer to just confiscate the gun and release Mel to me, but he wouldn’t or couldn’t and I didn’t press the issue. I met him at the Juvenile detention center that they took him to. I wasn’t allowed to see him or talk to him. The officer just came out and took my information. I thanked him for not shooting my kid. He assured me that was not the way they did things. I assured him that the news would say otherwise and I thanked him again. They told me I would have to call in the morning and see if he was going to have a hearing that day, which was, at this point, five hours away. I left the detention center and got in my car and bawled my eyes out.
Mel has never given me any shit, besides not wanting to go to school. He doesn’t get smart with me. He doesn’t run wild. I know where he is at all times. He tells me everything or so I thought. When I called to see if he was going to court, they told me no, his court date wouldn’t be until the next day. He would have to spend the night and I could see him later that afternoon for ten minutes. I just imagined him being in this awful prison like place with all these hardcore boys just waiting for some fresh meat to beat up. Not that it would be that easy to beat Mel up. He towers over most people. But my imagination is vivid and I had worked out every worst case scenario. When I finally got to see him, they had him in a solitary holding cell. He hadn’t seen his friend. He hadn’t seen any other kids. He was in a cell with a bed, a toilet and a sink. I asked him if he was ok. He said he was. I told him we’d talk about everything else when he got out. I asked him if there was anything he wanted to tell me. I guess he was waiting for me to be freaking out. But I was freakishly calm. Like that time he came in with blood dripping from his head and running down his arm and off his elbow. I think in crisis, my calm kicks in. Not sure, really. He apologized to me and told me he’d tell me everything when he got out. Then he told me that he hadn’t been able to pee or poop since he got there because there were observation windows and people were watching him. I told him he better figure it out and if he didn’t want people watching him take a shit for the rest of his life maybe he should re-think some of his actions. And then I told him this would be the one and only time I would sit and talk to him through a plexiglass divider. Before I knew it, our ten minutes was up and they put him back in his cell and I left.
To Be Continued Tomorrow…..