Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Drum Lesson

I usually sit and read during my daughter’s thirty-minute drum lesson. She walks up a curved flight of stairs to a house canopied with Redwoods from the parking lot in the center of a cul de sac. Sitting in my car I can hear the drumming, occasionally a saxophonist practicing, often birds and wind in the tall redwoods. Last winter I enjoyed the call and response of a pair of owls.

On this warm June evening, I have the windows down. There’s no fog yet, and a car pulls in next to me with its windows down as well. As the engine is killed I caught the tail end of a Mom lecture I know well.

“You can’t have fun all the time. You need to balance your school and fun. It’s about balance. If you have a solid foundation, then you will have options later and you can do what you want.”

I’ve had variations on that one with my teenaged sons many times. Just as I was about to recognize this Mom as a comrade, a sister soldier in mothering adolescent boys, she turned on me.

“If you’re doing well in school, then you can smoke a little pot.”

I whipped my head around and stared at her as she closed her window and her son got out. He looked to be about 13, maybe 7th grade? I was stunned.

I’m sure this mom insists that her son wear a seatbelt, and she probably had him vaccinated. She has certainly made thoughtful choices about her growing boys nutrition and use of sunscreen, so where’s the disconnect that would not put brain chemistry on that checklist? Is she unaware that encouraging illegal drug use might be considered a poor parenting style choice?

When another mom condones getting stoned as long as junior’s homework is done, it undermines my efforts to shepherd my kids and steer them to make good choices. She’s making my job harder! I need my community of parents to have the best of intentions for theirs and mine alike. We need to all be on board to help each other and all our kids to navigate adolescence.

Marin’s social host law, which I very much support, didn’t deter the idiot dad in Muir Beach. According to his attorney he agreed to let his kid have a two friends over for a birthday celebration and,

"Teenage drinking at the party resulted from the security officer's failure to employ basic standard security methods and procedures, including searches of the teenagers for alcohol containers.”

He felt compelled to hire three security guards, which I’ve never done for a kid’s birthday party myself. What irresponsible security officers.

Paramedics had a very difficult time gaining access to a girl with a head injury because of the 200+ celebrating teenagers in the home. I was discussing this local disaster at a dinner party soon after it was in the Marin IJ, and one parent praised her sixteen-year-old son for having taken a cab to this party. Um, kind of missing the point. ­­Impulse control, anyone?

I followed the young stoner up the steps to retrieve my daughter. In the studio we chatted as she gathered her book and sticks. He was polite and well spoken and I told him that he looked familiar – he did now that we were face to face. The instructor reminded us.

“Oh, yeah, I recommended ____ to your son last fall when he was looking for a drummer. I think he’s been to your house.”

So there it is folks. The wolf is not at the door, he’s hanging out in the living room with my son. When I got home I described the whole event to my son and asked him if he remembered this kid coming over.

“Yeah, he was a douche.”

This, I suppose, was a drumming critique, but I’m still relieved that my son wasn’t interested in hanging out with him. I asked what he thought of this kid smoking pot. His answer was pure 14-year-old snark.

“What a loser. He’s not even in a band.”

1 comment:

  1. People should be required to take a test
    and get a license to have kids....don't you think!