I spent time this weekend in several parent lounges, so to speak, although neither had anything to do with a skatepark.
On Friday evening, OlderBrother went to a school dance. Since Sk8terdad and Sk8terdude were planning to see a movie, I was able to take a few hours and head to the mall with a friend. This is a rare occurrence these days, and although I didn't do any actual shopping (she did!), it was great fun just to relax with a Starbucks drink in the center court.
That is, it was relaxing, until we heard a woman nearby start to scream at her child to get up and come to the car. We could see the mother yelling - the child was sitting on some stairs so she was blocked from our view - and then suddenly we could see the mother start to slap and grab at the child, who was clearly hitting back. The mother got louder and louder and we could see the situation was escalating out of control. For a split second, my friend even wondered aloud if this was one of those television shows that places hidden cameras to see if anyone will get involved. Since no one seemed to be helping, and with no security guard or police in sight, we decided that we needed to try to help the mother calm down and to make sure the child was okay before things got any worse. I approached the mom, placed my hand on her shoulder, and calmly said that I had been in her shoes, that she needed to take a deep breath, that our kids do their best to try to push our buttons, and that I wanted to help.
[FYI - I've never been in a slap fight with either of my boys - but I figured telling her I had been in her shoes was a quick way to get her attention and, I hoped, to get her to listen.]
I turned to take a look at the child and, to my surprise, found myself looking at a very mature teenage girl - surely at least 16 years old - who didn't look like she needed any help defending herself (at least not physically, as she was clearly larger and stronger than her mother). The mother was still upset, but she had backed away and they were no longer hitting one another. We talked for a moment, she settled down a bit, and the daughter finally stood up and started walking toward the exit, which was what the mother wanted.
If this is what teenage girl drama is all about, I'm glad I have boys....which is not to say we don't have our own drama here!
I went from my unofficial "parent lounge" in the mall back to school to pick up OlderBrother. Like most mothers of teens, I've been officially banned from almost all school functions, and he's given me strict instructions to remain silent in front of his friends, to speak to other parents only when necessary, etc. I was a few minutes early, so I dutifully waited in the car (my "other" parent lounge!) until the dance was almost over, then went into the building and stood, silently of course, near the door, careful not to do or say anything lest I be accused of intentionally embarrassing him. I guess I did a good job...on the way home he actually shared some stories from the evening, said he had a good time, and thanked me for letting him attend. A small but priceless victory...
Today I spent time here:
Do two chairs and a chain link fence qualify as a parent lounge?
Sk8terdude was visiting a friend from overnight camp and the other mom and I took the two boys to an indoor go-cart facility on Long Island. They stood in line for 20 minutes so they could race for 3 minutes...and then repeated the process two more times. Good thing I like the other boy's mom...
I'll take a view of a skatepark over this any day!!