I was at the court house bright and early the next day. I got a call around 8am that Mel had requested a lawyer so I had to get there a little early to fill out some paperwork. After I did that, I waited in the lobby until a young guy in a suit came to talk to me. He was the public defender for Mel. He just introduced himself the first time and then came back an hour or so later to talk to me about Mel’s case. I told him Mel had never been in trouble and that I haven’t had to ground him or punish him in years. He told me to keep that to myself because I shouldn’t go in there telling the judge that I don’t punish him. And I was thinking to myself, that’s not what I said at all, but I just kept my mouth quiet and listened to his suggestions. He said that they were going to request an alcohol and drug assessment and a mental health assessment and they were probably going to want him to be on an ankle monitor until we came back to court. “It’s only $10 a day he said.” I basically told him that I couldn’t afford $300 just for them to look on the computer and see that his ass was sitting up under me at home and if they were going to insist on the ankle monitor then I was going to insist that they keep him there and they could feed him and give him a place to stay, because I was not agreeing to an ankle monitor. I have raised kids for 24 years and have never seen the inside of a juvenile courtroom for delinquency. So when we went in, the lawyer told the judge that we were pretty much compliant with everything but the ankle monitor. She agreed that since I am home all day, he didn’t need a monitor. Then she gave him a stern talking to that included, “you better do everything your mom says or you will be back here and I won’t let you out next time!” and “if you leave the house (then looking at me) you are to call the police immediately and report it and (back at Mel) you will be picked up and we will keep you!”
Unnecessary words for an unnecessary situation. He already listens to me and he’s not one of those kids who is told don’t leave and then I go take a pee and come out and he’s gone. I kept trying to tell them, he’s a good kid. He’s not a troubled kid. He will pass a mental health evaluation with flying colors along with an alcohol and drug evaluation. He made a stupid mistake. How many of us have never made a mistake? I’m not trying to coddle him and make light of a serious situation, but I don’t think treating him like shit is the answer either. I’ve always talked to my kids and my kids have always been able to talk to me about anything. It’s one of the final successes of parenting. I have, over the last few days, thought that maybe I should have waited a couple more years to release the book, after I was officially done and Mel was 18, but then I thought, NO! Parenting is tough. Kids are unpredictable. Life is unpredictable. We all make mistakes. Parents make mistakes. Kids make mistakes. That’s just a part of life.
I think we both learned a valuable lesson. I learned that no matter how many talks you have with your kids, sometimes they still do stupid shit and it doesn’t mean you aren’t a good mom or dad. It just means that people fuck up. As far as what he learned…. Mel will be my guest blogger tomorrow and is going to tell his side of the story from his perspective.