There are times in life I feel like nothing but a chauffeur when it comes to my kiddos but I have to say I don't really mind that title. Because out of all the things I'm responsible for in this crazy world of parenting, one of the things I enjoy the most is driving my kids around, especially as they have gotten older. So yes, I do sometimes feel like a chauffeur sometimes, but for the most part I feel like their confidante.
In the car is where issues are discussed, problems are solved and personal matters are shared. The other day all of these took place nearly simultaneously. I was driving Lucas. I have no idea where we were going or what we were going to do. I just remember our conversation.
We talked about drugs. We talked about friends and we talked about pregnancy. Interesting topics, to say the least. The topics were made more interesting by the sheer fact that Lucas and I were talking about them together. Though all of these issues were discussed, the main part of our conversation centered around drugs and alcohol.
There has been a lot of chatter around our parts lately about drugs and alcohol use ~ or should I say abuse ~ in our little area of the world. I'm sure it happens everywhere, everyday, but the fact that it's happening in such close proximity to my children has me a little on edge. I needed to know what Lucas knows and how he feels about what I'm hearing. The only way to get the information is to ask, in the car. So I did.
"What do you hear at school about kids using and abusing drugs, either at your school or Zach's?" I asked. Lucas answered he really hasn't heard too much about problems at Zach's school. He didn't hear about the alcohol fueled dance that garnered media attention. He doesn't know any of the kids accused. But he did hear about an incident at his middle school, one that leaves me feeling strangely off kilter and more than a little concerned. An incident where drugs were supposedly exchanged for a paint ball gun. Rumor and speculation, to be sure but one the kids are hearing over and over. And it's a rumor fueled with speculation that hasn't been addressed by our schools. That leaves it to me to address ~ and address I do.
First I started with "Did you see the drugs?" Lucas answered he hadn't but one of his friends was called down to the principal's office to give an account of what he saw. Then I asked "Did you see the paint ball gun being exchanged for the drugs?" Lucas answered again that he hadn't seen the paintball gun. So, I had to do what any mom should and would do. I cautioned against believing rumor and speculation, but I went on to use this conversation as a means to my end...talking about drug use.
This conversation morphed from what Lucas hears at school to which kids need to be avoided at school. Obviously the drug dealer, if he really exists, needs to be avoided. And just as obviously, the kid who brought the paint ball gun to school is not a friend Lucas needs. Unfortunately, I know the paint ball gun kid. He's a new kid on the block and one who seems to have found the wrong crowd to run with at school. He's a nice kid who got sucked into a bad group. I wish he would have found Lucas and his goofy group, and maybe someday he will.
I can't tell you how fortunate I feel to be able to have these conversations with my kids. I love the fact that they'll talk to me about this stuff. These may not always be the easiest conversations to have, but they're the conversations that need to happen. And hopefully, if we talk about this stuff over and over again my kids will stay on the straight and narrow. So I'll keep driving Mr. Lucas and talking to him until I'm blue in the face.
Oh, for the love of my children....