Welcome to my life. It's a whirlwind of kids, chaos, pets, people, family, art, and being home (most of the time; I like to get out here and there). We unschool, so the unexpected is, well, expected...

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Running away

Wow, what a day yesterday! A friend of Chamille's decided to run away from home. Chamille has been talking her friend out of it for a little over a week now. The problem is, that the friend decided to go ahead with her plan anyway. Her plan was dangerous and the only person she was informing was Chamille, whom she specifically asked to not inform me.

That must have been incredibly difficult for Chamille, because she generally shares everything with me, especially something big like this. Chamille offered a safe haven for her friend, because she recognized that the alternative was a really bad idea and she really cares about this friend and her safety. So, yesterday, she harbored a friend without me knowing. She let her in through a bedroom window early in the morning and let her drop off stuff and hang out for a while, then her friend left for the day. Chamille met up with her later to check on her and make sure she was safe and had food and to offer moral support.

I'm so proud of Chamille and how she handled a very difficult situation. It spiraled out of control, as these things do tend to do when you have a frantic parent involved looking for their kid. When this kid found out that I knew, she ran and became unfindable and discontinued contact with Chamille. It was very scary for all of us.

The mother of this child handled everything the wrong way and although it is understandable to not always do the right thing in a stressful situation, she really showed her true colors in all of this. Once again, Chamille was right about this person. She kept telling me, and I kept giving this mom the benefit of the doubt, thinking that surely she isn't as bad as Chamille says. It's not as if she's physically abusive, it's more that she's really extremely judgemental and controlling and really doesn't listen to her daughter at all, but she talks different than she acts.

We've become the scape goat here, but the girl is home and safe and Chamille and I have learned a lot together about helping others. In hindsight, I wish that I would've stood up to this woman more on behalf of Chamille and her friend, but not really knowing the full story, it was hard to say much. She will believe what she will believe. Her daughter may run away again if she doesn't change the way she deals with her child. Statistics show that kids will run farther and longer each time they do it. Chances are that next time she won't tell Chamille and that she won't be safe when she goes away. Right now, we are the bad guys because the mother is unwilling to place any blame on herself. Chamille has been accused of being a liar, encouraging her friend to rebel and break rules and to run away, and basically being the whole reason this kid ran away and that otherwise she would be happily and safely at home, and worst of all, she was accused of doing drugs with this friend and giving her drugs.

Despite everything that happened, I'm really proud of Chamille! She tried very hard to prevent all of it. She tried to reason with her friend, encouraged her to talk to her mother, encouraged her to not run away, and to just follow her mom's stupid rules, to get along and get through this really hard time that she's dealing with. How really difficult it must have been for her to not tell me, and to not tell me the full truth when it all came down. She wanted so much to do the right thing and in a situation like this, it's really hard to know what the "right" thing to do is. Her friend doesn't trust anybody, and Chamille showed her without a doubt that she is someone to be trusted. You can't dislike that! She is completely trustworthy, even in times of turmoil and at a sacrifice to herself.

We discussed our "don't ask don't tell" policy, and in a circumstance like this one, it's better to tell me if I ask outright. I told her that it would've come down on me instead of her if she had told me, and that is exactly as it should be. She doesn't need to be the "bad" guy, I can do that for her and protect her from that as much as possible. All in all, I think Chamille did a good thing for her friend. She really truly is a good person who really tries very hard to do what is right in all situations and I love that about my daughter and I wouldn't change that for the world!


Sandra Dodd said...

Good for all but the mom, I guess. The daughter is back, and probably grounded and getting harangued, but she was free, for a while, and experienced sympathy and love.

Perhaps you could write something to the mom. Definitely keep a copy. But maybe you could say just one or two things she could think about (worded in such a way that she couldn't help but think about it) that might help her daughter in a time-lapse kind of way. Maybe the "kids run farther" part of what you wrote above... Maybe exactly all of what you wrote above.

Jenny Cyphers said...

I wrote her. Not what I wrote here, but something very different. I don't know how it will be received.