Saturday, February 27, 2010

Untitled

One day last week, on a whim, I decided to Google the name of a girl I used to babysit when I was a teenager. At the time, her parents were good friends with my parents. Obviously a lot has happened and changed since then.

That girl is now 20 and on February 11, just a few weeks before I decided to look her up, she was arrested and charged with no less than seven different offenses related to drugs and burglary. I'm not sure what to make of this information, but I know it makes me want to cry. And it scares me.

I know, well.....knew, this girl's parents fairly well. They were your average, middle class family. They had their issues of course, as all people (and parents) do, but they loved their kids and wanted the best for them.

I remember sitting in the back seat of a mini van while my mother and the pregnant mother of this as of yet unborn girl discussed baby names. I remember hearing the name of this unborn baby and thinking it was unusual. But pretty. Now that girl's name is just another one on a police blotter.

How does this happen? How do you go from having a beautiful baby, to just another lowlife booked into the county jail? How can I make sure it doesn't happen to my kids?

25 comments:

Mandy said...

This thought crosses my mind all the time!! It's scary!

Great blog, by the way!!

It's Me, Theresa said...

I think all we can do as parents is do the best we can to make sure our children know they are loved and can talk to us, and after that, once they reach a certain age, we just have to realize we've done all we can, and their choices become their own. It is such a scary thought though, just one more thing that keeps a parent up at night.

Anything Fits a Naked Man said...

Oh, that's so, so sad, and so very, very scary! I'm so sorry about this poor girl, I guess we all just have to do the best we can and hope the lessons we instill with actually stick.

Not Your Aunt B said...

It scares me so if you find out, post it! That is so sad to hear.

Dani said...

Damn. That's heavy.

I do what I can. I try to set limits but not be too much of a hard-ass. Meh. I don't know...

Stuff they don't tell you in those baby books.

R.H. Ducky said...

so, about the "lowlife booked into the county jail" comment. is she a lowlife because she was went jail, or because of her particular offenses? just curious.

Tammie said...

ducky: hmmm...interesting question. perhaps i could have worded that differently, in a more sensitive way.

i suppose for me it's the offenses. i feel like drugs can be really life changing and i dont know of a lot of folks who've done them (to the point of having to do jail time) and then have been able to turn themselves around and lead successful lives.

that being said, im a total goody-goody nerd and i get an uncomfortable feeling if i have to go to the courthouse to pay a parking ticket so yeah, if i were arrested on drug charges, id probably have some type of seizure and there is a large part of me that wants to protect my kids from that same discomfort.

anyway, definitely let me know your thoughts on this. feel free to email me if you want to keep this discussion a bit more private.

sitting on the mood swing at the playground said...

I think of that often, too. Scary. I've never thought of checking out the ones I babysat. One of them was nicknamed Dennis the Menace at 3 because he was so wild...I should google him.

Lia said...

That is an awful and horrifying thought. I don't know the answer. I guess we just have to try to teach them to be good people and hope that they truly get it.

CT said...

The most we can do is instill values in them, but not wash our hands from them as soon as they are grown up. My parents and I talk like adults, and even now, with my brothers being 36, 37 and 30 (I'm the sandwich here at 32) they still keep an eye on us. They can no longer ground us, but they are still watching over us! They always say we might be parents but we are still their sons and daughter, and their responsibility is still to guide us when they can and give us a hand when we need it

CT said...

And hey, for the record, I think you are doing great as a mom.

Karen said...

I think about this all the time on days when I feel like a cruddy mother. Then again, in my darker moments I also dwell on the fact that one day they will be sad, sick old, broke, depressed, hurt, whatever. I like what Theresa said; that's a sane lady.

Margaret (Peggy or Peg too) said...

Oh Tam this is sad. I don't have kids so it's not for me to say here or I'll be eaten alive. :-)

But what I always wonder is how in a family of 5 kids does 1 end up going astray? What was done differently to with that 1? How did that 1 do drugs when the other 4 didn't? They were taught the same things and parented the same way. So should parents blame themselves? Maybe nothing could have be done differently and it's just easier to blame oneself. I see this a lot and wonder how or why? All anyone can do is the best they can.

I have seen it in my own family the pain this causes parents.. Maybe this will be the young girls wake up call....maybe this is her bottom and she will turn this around.

I'm with ducky with the lowlife word. Growing up in the early 70's I knew a lot of kids who did drugs and turned their lives around and 1 imparticular is a CEO of a company most would know. So don't give up on her so quickly.

You just never know when it can go either way.

Tammie said...

peggy: i love how you too called me out on the lowlife word. you guys arent afraid to challenge me and i love that.

i admit i wrote this really quickly as sort of an expression of the way i was feeling at the time. and then i didnt really edit it very much.

i dont personally know any drug related success stories, so that's definitely where my bias comes from. (admittedly though i dont know a lot of drug related life stories period.) my cousin is 10 years into serving a long prison sentence on attempted murder charges. he and i wrote letters at first and he mentioned how high he had been at the time and how his addiction caused him to do things he would have never considered doing otherwise.

everyone else ive known who's gotten involved with drugs, has lived lives where they sort of remain stagnant, never really doing much.

im glad to hear that isnt always the case though.

hester said...

This is a sad and scary story. It must be hard to imagine that little girl you babysat in this situation. I have been thinking about this stuff a lot lately - how to protect my girls from the dark side of life. It's a real highwire act getting the balance right. I'm hoping if they will feel able to come to me and tell me stuff, that is the most important thing.

Illegal drugs have played havoc with the lives of some people I love so that whole scene scares the shit out of me too.

~ The Jolly Bee ~ said...

I'm not sure....Life is strange. And just when you think you know someone -- SURPRISE. As a mom with two teens and a pre-teen, it's not easy. My kids are basically good, I just see many opportunities to go down the wrong path. I tell them almost every day to do the RIGHT thing and to ask themselves if it's something that I would approve of. Good luck.

R.H. Ducky said...

the reason for my comment before is because i have landed myself in the county jail for a couple of hours once. i got arrested for dwi. definitely not something i'm proud of, it was ridiculously irresponsible and stupid, but i also don't consider myself a lowlife. i guess you struck a nerve with me earlier. i hope you didn't take my previous comment as being too abrasive.

victoria said...

You don't really know what she has been through. She could have been abused, sexually or physically at some point which left her traumatized. Could have been a neighbor. Maybe nothing happened. But 9 times out of 10, some sort of neglect, abuse or abandonment have gone on for self esteem to be shattered and a spirit broken so completely.

Sometimes people are born with a predisposition for depression (chemically in the brain) and then they try drugs and everything feels good and normal.

I didn't read "lowlife" as your opinion of this girl. I read it as your use of the word to wrap up how our society perceives kids on drugs, especially kids in and out of jail.

My niece is 14 and my sister has been paranoid from the moment she was born about how to keep her from becoming a "lowlife". She is in a pre-med program in 9th grade! My sister's latest worry is that she's going to become a preg. teenager because she has some preg. girls in her classes. Every week it's something new.

Anyway, hopefully this girl, being only 20, will simply grow out of this stage of her life.

Crystal said...

Oh. That is sad to hear about. I think every mother hopes to God that it doesn't happen to them.

Now about the low life comment... Why shouldn't you say that? If you find yourself in jail, I would think you have hit a new low in your life, hence low life. It is all subject to everyones value system. Low life means many things to different people.

We just had a huge talk at the dinner table about something similar to this. What offences that could land you in jail are bad enough to deem someone a low life? What offences are not? Rape? Of anyone? How about a child? Burglery? Assult? Involuntary manslaughter? DWI? What if you kill or maim someone while driving drunk? What if someone kills or maims your children/you/your spouse while driving drunk? Does your feeling about a DWI/DUI change if you think about being in an accident caused by a drunk vs you causeing an accident by being drunk? Drug possession? If so, all drugs or certain drugs? I majored in criminal justice in college and it is interesting to me the huge disparity what people consider a terrible/unmoral crime and what is not.

Tammie said...

wow. i really had no idea this would cause this much discussion and further thought provoking questions.

hester: thats definitely how i feel. once you've seen the effect it can have on people in your life, it's really hard to not be frightened.

ducky: not at all! if anything, i just wanted to know where you were coming from.

victoria: i think you touched on something that i ultimately was trying to say but didnt. when i used the term "lowlife" i really wasnt specifically referring to the girl or any person, but the perception that we tend to have when someone does something illegal.

crystal: god you bring up some good questions and i do think the answers are different for everyone.

personally, i feel like some crimes can be kind of written off as a person messing up one time and doing something stupid. ultimately they may have no long term effects. but i think when you are a serious drug user, you mess up a lot in your life and you lose a lot of peoples trust and it takes much longer to get back to the life you once knew. you'll carry the effects of certain crimes for quite sometime.

victoria said...

I reread my comment and it sounded like I was pointing a finger at you saying "you don't know" ...

just to make sure ... what I meant was, don't worry about your babies. Even though it seemed as though she had a "normal" childhood, something may have gone on there.

Again, instead of any trauma or whatever, hopefully it's just a phase. Even if it takes her through her twenties to figure it out.

I know it sounds like I have a lot of personal experience here, but it's really that I'm a know it all. I didn't start drinking until I was 34! By 38 developed a problem ... I also got into a little bit of pill popping. I was a lonely-thirty-something-single cliche' for sure!

Thankfully I never got pulled over! And, like you, I'd pee myself if I got arrested!

;-)

Tammie said...

victoria: no worries. i didnt take your comment the wrong way. :)

and you're right, there may have been or be more to the story than i know. while i dont believe there was ever any abuse so to speak, i will say that at times this girls parents seemed a bit disinterested and maybe selfish. thats totally my opinion though, coming from a very limited vantage point. and even if they were selfish that doesnt necessarily mean both of their kids will end up in prison. like you said, you just never know.

and like you i dont have a lot of experience with this either, im just a know it all. :)

Aleta said...

When I was younger, my friends used to say that my parents were controlling. But then, my friends got into a LOT of trouble. And now.. those same friends have children and are VERY controlling. Kids don't understand it, don't appreciate it and rebel against it - but parents need to BE PARENTS - not the child's friend, not the TV being the source of entertainment and yes, parents needs to be nosey and restrictive of things such as computer use and telephone conversations and who the friends are... yes, very controlling, but... you know what, it's love, sometimes tough love, but it works.

Hotch Potchery said...

It is so hard to say what is going to happen with kids. Great parents have assy kids, assy parents get great kids. I think we have to love them and try the hardest we can...

Ask my sister about MY kids. (No arrests, but their own ridiculousness).

Penny said...

I like to watch the show Intervention and EVERY time I watch it I wonder how your precious baby could end up a crack head and I worry about my son becoming that kid. I think we are good parents, but some of the parents on that show seem pretty good too, so really it just scares the shit out of me....