Sunday, October 01, 2006

The Thing about Vlogging

I think I'm going to try to do a little bit of both, since they both have their advantages. For instance, when I have video of the kids, it's great. When I'm just a talking head rambling on about seemingly boring going-ons, it's not. Also, the 15 minute clip I had had to be trimmed down to 12, and then encoded, then uploaded, and then listed. It takes seriously about a good half hour just to get a vlog up, excluding the upload times. I enjoy vlogging, but I do summarize a lot because I don't remember details when I present the oral history.

So anyhow, here's a good old-fashioned written post.

One of the things I cut out from the vlog was about one of my biggest pet peeves. And in order to discuss the context of the pet peeve, I had to describe what went on this weekend, and the whole context of that - and it became a huge freaking mess. But here it is.

On Friday, JL was supposed to be picked up by her dad to go to Bellingham for the weekend, and then he called to say that he couldn't make it, and that his car was really in no shape to be driven anywhere. My wife worked that night, and the usual procedure is that we drive her up every third weekend, and that's it. Any additional visits to her boyfriend - I mean, her father, would be up to her and her dad.

So she tells her mom that she's going to the Teen Center instead, nothing out of the ordinary. So she leaves, whatever, and my wife goes to work. When my wife came home from work, she was wondering where she was, and I said she was probably just with one of her friends or still at the Teen Center, since she wasn't the kind of person who would call if she was running late. Well, she went out looking for her, and then called her boyfriend, and the BF's mother said that JL was in Snohomish.

Gist of it is, she decided that she was going to WALK to Bellingham since she wasn't going to get a ride from her dad, and she told no one about her intentions. Only when it got dark outside, she decided to knock on a stranger's door, and call her boyfriend to try a wrangle a ride. If we had not called her boyfriend's mother, who deserves to get some Parent of the Year Award, we would not have known about it.

So she got in trouble, and here are the main reasons.

1) She approached it with a toddler mentality. I want to go to Bellingham, and I want to go now. I don't care what anyone thinks.

2) She didn't let anyone know. Us, the primary caregivers, or anyone in Bellingham. That means she could've had her ass kidnapped, raped, and murdered, and nobody would know for days. Weeks. Or if ever. If she was in the wrong place and the wrong time, she would be a spot on the earth and no one would ever know where she was last heard from. A search party would have no radius to search around.

3) She had no F-ing idea where she was going. She ended up in Snohomish. She was headed in the right direction for a while, and then she was heading east. She would've ended up over the mountains.

4) She knocked on a stranger's door for help. See number 2. Wrong house, and it would be all over.

5) She didn't think any of it through. Plan A was Dad with broken car, and at work to boot. Plan B was boyfriend's mom who doesn't even have a car, for Chirssakes. And please, even if she had made it there, we would've just went over there and yanked her ass back.

6) Nobody ever said she couldn't go to Bellingham. She just didn't want to wait. Even her boyfriend didn't know. See #1.

So that pissed us the hell off. To further piss us off, we thought we might call some people in her life to let them know, hey, she tried this, please tell her it was stupid as hell and tell her that she's hurt people in the process.

And that was a half bad idea, because evidently, running away from home is not universally a bad idea. I guess to some people, it is encouraged, and even rewarded. Her dad said to my wife, well, maybe you should take her to a movie once in a while. So there you have it. Run away from home, and you'll get a large tub of popcorn to go with your matinee. The further you run away, the more fucking snacks you'll earn. You make it to another state, it's an upgrade to an IMAX feature, man.

Other stupid advice was that the person should take her out to lunch, or just "listen to her". Sorry, but we're not retarded. There is a truth in trying to understand your teenager, or listening to her, but anyone who has struggled with raising a teenager will know this. Teenagers are hyper aware of themselves. To the point whereby they transform into selfish, self-centered egotists who think they should have everything for nothing. Not true for a lot of kids, but very true for a lot of them too. What happened on Friday was not because she was misunderstood, or as she dramatically quipped to me, "I'm trying to go home." No, it's not that she misses her Dad. She misses her stupid boyfriend. That's it. I would take their relationship with a little more weight if he weren't a prospective deadbeat who cheats on her, but as it is, he is looking to be as promising of a husband as a drunk, unemployed, disrespectful punk ass would be.

Then my mother-in-law was visiting today to celebrate my belated birthday, and when my wife was out of the room, I heard my mother-in-law say to JL, "If you ever need bus money, come talk to me, and you know, when your mom and your aunt was your age, they ran away too..." And I yelled for my wife, "You mom's saying stuff!"

Seriously, people. If you're not going to back our play, just play along and say nothing. Seriously. Do not patronize a kid by being her best friend, and offering her options to defy people who care about her. If people really cared about her, they'd show her the right thing to do, not the easiest thing to do.

So that's my pet peeve.

let me first say, so theres no miss understanding, im behind you on your thoughts 100% and think that motherinlaw shouldnt be offering money as an insentive to runaway, nuts!
BUT!! let me also say (and maybe its like "duh!" but lemme say it anyways) many teens love to rebal, and if you draw a line in the sand so to speak they find the urge to step over that line just for the hell of it. as a parent (which im not so im not qualified really to give advice, but i can base it on watching my own family grow up as a kid) .. well, as i was saying, parents have the difficult (impossible??!) task of being firm but loving and understanding. And I'm sure you know, but no matter how crazy/cold JL might be as she goes through her teen years, deep down inside she needs tons love from you and your wife, so no matter wheather shes being punished (can o whooopasss!) or treated, make sure she "knows the love" of course... anyway, thats my 10 cents, or 12 really since i typed so dang long. woopsies! hehe
Well Neonvirus,

Yeah, but I think teens rebel because they want their own identity, want to be independent, and want to do whatever they want, when they want to do it. I don't think she was rebelling per se, she just wanted what she wanted then and there. It was a complete act of selfishness coupled with a lack of common sense. We keep telling her that we care about her, and that she can always use us to get ahead in life... blah blah blah. Anyhow, it's been a crappy weekend and I'd like to put it all behind me.

PS. We were talking to her about her always abusing her rights when she said she had no rights - and last night she was up till one on a school night. This shit gets old.
So, I get that teenagers need to be loved and that the teenage years can really suck...we've all been there! And teenagers do need love, even if it can be hard to give. But there really is no excuse for setting out to walk to a place that takes an hour and a half to drive to at an average speed of 65mph! At a walking speed of 2mph it would take more than 2 DAYS!--with no stops!! I understand that she is probably angry about a lot of things right now, but puting herself in danger is really a stupid way to get back at the people who may be making her angry! She needs to learn to stop and think a few steps ahead. It's ok to be a little selfish from time to time, but only if you know how to treat yourself with respect. And she has consistantly shown that she does not. Instead she is making juvenile decisions that are ultimately self destructive. I decided to run away to China once...I was six. And for a six year old that can be a great decision...I made it to the end of the block. But there are very few reasons that someone in her late teens should feel jusitified to pull a stunt like that. AND it's definately not worth it to run off like that to see a guy who clearly doesn't have a great deal of respect for her! I'm in your corner!
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