She walked in my room with her book bag still attached to her back. A look of horror was pasted on her face.
Something wasn’t right.
And as her mother, I needed to get to the bottom of it.
Her: They stole my money!
Me: Who stole your money???????
Her: The kids on the school bus!
Me: What kids on the school bus???????
Her: The eighth graders. Mostly boys. One girl. She was the leader.
Me: And what did the bus driver do????????
Her: Nothing. She did absolutely nothing.
She went on to explain how she was rewarded earlier that day by her teacher for doing “exceptional work” and received “play money,” which was as good as cold hard cash in the school store. In her excitement, she showed a few people on the bus who asked to see it, and when she whipped it out, had it snatched from her grasp and passed around to the older kids who never gave it back.
I had heard enough.
I was on fire. Furious.
And THISCLOSE to spontaneously combusting all over my bedroom floor.
My daughter, a sixth grader, had just experienced every parents’ worse nightmare, being bullied, and in the day and age where children are killing themselves over this problem, I had vowed that she was not going to be one of them.
So the next day, I did what any responsible single mom would do. I threw on some sneakers, pulled my hair back in a ponytail, smeared some Vaseline on my face, hiked my twelve-month-old son on my hip, and walked to the bus stop.
Ready for war.
Or a strategic attempt at bullying them back. Whichever would work.
The bus came and my daughter and I hopped on. I made her point out the suspects. There were four in total and I was going to make them all beg for mercy.
Me (walking past the bus driver): Where is my daughter’s money??????
The Girl Suspect: I ain’t got your daughter’s money!
She rolled her neck.
And then her eyes.
I wanted to break them both, but then my son looked at me and I realized that he may need me around for the long haul.
Me (speaking in my outside voice): What you won’t do is bully this one right here!
I pointed to my kid and then turned my attention to the boy suspects.
Me: Where is her money?
The Boy Suspects: Speechless.
The girl jumped back in: Your daughter told everyone on the bus that she stole that money from her English teacher and when we said that we didn’t believe her, she pulled it out and showed it to us.
To make a long and horribly embarrassing story short, my kid had stolen the play money from class and then had it stolen from her. The robber had become the robbee and the English teacher and an eyewitness (aka the lookout girl) confirmed it.
My sweet precious daughter had made a fool out of me.
And I didn’t appreciate it at all.
So what’s the lesson?
As parents, we jump to take the side of our children, which is great and all, but a few very important facts often elude us. Like the truth.
So before you make the decision to jump a pack of eighth graders with your one-year-old on your hip, make sure you do your due diligence and find out what actually happened.
Because if you don’t, you could go to jail. Like I almost did.