My husband and I just got back from stealing a car. Okay, okay, we didn’t actually steal it. We just stole everything out of it. We stole a cell phone, GPS unit, cool Nike bag full of clothes, pair of sunglasses, money from the change dish and a Puffs tissue box.
We did it because we love our daughter deeply, and feel that she needs to learn the valuable life lesson of responsibility.
You see, ever since Ashleigh started driving three months ago, we set up some rules to help keep her safe and responsible. One of those rules is that whenever she drives herself somewhere, she needs to call and let us know she arrived safely. She’s done a pretty good job of it so far.
But today she left for work, which we know is a 10-minute drive, and didn’t call. By the time 20 minutes had passed with no call, we started getting worried. I tried her cell phone several times but there was no answer. I tried calling her place of work, but the managers weren’t picking up the phone either.
My hubby and I immediately left, following the route she drives to work, and found her car parked right where it was supposed to be while she was safely ensconced inside the facility working.
We discovered she’d left the car unlocked, and the back windows completely down (it’s supposed to storm later). Yeesh! I mean, c’mon! What is our beautiful, intelligent girl thinking?
So I immediately suggested we rob her, and my husband agreed. We took every last thing out of that car and left it unlocked (praying nobody actually did steal it in the next four hours). We knew she would completely freak when she came out and found everything missing. But how do we drill this responsibility thing into her head?
LATER THAT EVENING….
I was at my son’s baseball game when my cell phone rang. “Mom! Somebody broke into my car and stole everything!” Her voice was appropriately panicked.
“Calm down, tell me what happened.”
“Somebody broke in--I don’t know how, I locked my car!”
“You locked your car?”
“I—well, I think I locked it.” I could hear the doubt creeping in there.
“Stay right there. Let me call daddy and have him come get you. He’ll be there in a couple of minutes.” (Having anticipated the phone call, Chris left the game early and was waiting in his car for my call.)
EVEN LATER THAT EVENING…
About 20 minutes later, I arrived home with Joshua from his baseball game to find Ashleigh seated at the kitchen table crying. A list of all the items that were “stolen” was scrawled out on a piece of paper in front of her. Chris had the phone pressed to his ear, pretending to call Ashleigh’s cell phone in a fake attempt to locate it. I rolled my eyes. Daddy was starting to have a little too much fun with this now. I gave him a look and he couldn’t suppress the grin that was itching to break loose.
Realization hit hard and fast as Ashleigh looked back and forth between us in disbelief, her voice barely a whisper, “You guys stole my stuff?”
We burst into laughter, which was immediately suppressed when Ashleigh burst into fresh tears.
Several comforting hugs and kisses later, amidst assurances we did it because we love her, she forgave us. We explained we wanted to impress the gravity of the situation upon her, the importance of keeping herself safe.
Ashleigh actually said, “I’m glad you did it.”
“Why?” I asked.
“Because I’ll never forget to lock my car again.” And she laughed.
Wow. Lesson actually learned. So ends another chapter in the life of parenting teens.