Saturday, July 5, 2014

Sleepless in Steveston

I can't be the only person who has ever laid in bed in the wee hours listening to a party gone wild.

Next door.

I was up, I was looking, listening..... pacing.

I was exasperated, I was tired.

But mostly I was afraid, worried.

I was afraid for the stupid choices I could hear teenagers making.

I knew some of those teenagers....knew of them....this is my neighbourhood, my kids are at school with these kids.

I smelled the pot, heard the tapping of pipes on the ground, the opening of beer cans.

I listened to screaming and yelling and foul language, the fending off of unwanted touching...... and eventually the vomiting.

And I lay awake wondering what my part in this little drama was?

I could say "teens will be teens..... they'll live.... they'll grow up" and turn over and go to sleep.

I could call over there but I already know there are no parents and mainly drunk or high teenagers.

I could go over there but no one is going to think that is a wise idea.  I could wake the peacefully sleeping Mr. Byres and send him but that is an even worse idea because he does know them ... as their teacher....and we can all agree their reactions could be....volatile.

I could call the cops.  I consider doing so.  But this is a lovely family, an unusual occurrence.....I don't want to be THAT neighbour.

So I lie there.

Eventually around 1:15am kids drift off down the road or inside.

By 2am its quite enough or I am sleepy enough that my sleep begins.

Only to end with a 5:45am alarm.

This morning I am even more uneasy.  I ponder all day whether to let it go or talk to my neighbours..

I see the parents are now home

After a little nap this afternoon I wrote them a letter.  I said I more than understood the fun of a summer party, a celebration even but that when open drug use and drunkenness disturb the neighbourhood to such a late hour I think its disrespectful.

I keep it short and neutral.  I say we can chat if they like and I leave my phone number.

I pop it through their mail slot.

Minutes later the Mom is at my front door.  Holding my letter.

Mortified.  She has only been home a while and already her house has told her that something went awry. Her teens less forthcoming.

She is disappointed that her faith in her kids to be responsible was not well placed although we both agree that when things start to escalate in these situations and teens text one another....its beyond the host to manage.

We talk on the doorstep for a while.  We console one another with words and eventually we hug it out and agree parenting teens is not for the weak.

She leaves relieved.  I feel relieved.

I think we were just the village in this moment.

You know the village.... in which we all have a part in raising the children.

That's not just for little children.

That means our teens too.

That means standing together to help them make good choices.

And to hold them accountable when they don't.

Maybe doing my part today for the village......maybe that was worth a few sleepless hours.

PS:  As I was posting this the three teenagers from next door showed up.  They had a little speech.  They were incredibly sweet and very very sorry.  Ahhh.....poor things......their Mom must be mad... but good for her for helping them do the right thing.  I told them I was as worried as I was annoyed and I was sorry their plans didn't work out the way they hoped.

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