I had been gone, spending the day with an old friend. When I returned home, she met me out on the driveway to tell me that she had been "triggered" by something that had happened.
Here's the story as Danielle told it. I'm not entirely sure of the tale's veracity, but here it is...
Danielle was spending the night with her friend. On Saturday afternoon, Danielle, her friend, and her friend's boyfriend gathered in her friend's room. Danielle decided to take a nap. When she awoke, she opened her eyes to find her friend having intercourse with her boyfriend.
Now, to add a bit of context to this, Danielle's friend is two years younger. She is also developmentally delayed. The boyfriend is also a special education student. There is also some question as to whether or not the kids used a condom.
Danielle could have put a stop to what was going on. She could have told the girl's mother, as she knew her friend wasn't supposed to be having sex, especially given her age and cognitive disabilities. The parents were home, but they have several other young children. The house is noisy and chaotic enough that they could easily have missed the goings-on in the bedroom.
And of course, Danielle was in the room with the other two kids, so everyone would assume nothing untoward would happen, right?
Danielle sat on the news for 24 hours before telling us.
And, because the girl in question is two years under the magic age of 17, she must go to her doctor for a prescription for the morning after pill.
Danielle knew that what her friend was doing was unquestionably wrong. I told her that by sitting by and doing nothing, it was the same as condoning the behavior. I told her that I was angry, disappointed, and embarrassed that she didn't stop her friend and tell her mother immediately. The girl's mother was in the next room when all this was happening. She is, quite understandably, pretty distraught.
I suppose I shouldn't expect Danielle to make good decisions, so perhaps I shouldn't really be disappointed. I just keep hoping, beyond hope, that she'll eventually get it and start making better choices.
* * *
Today there was a little bit of drama coming from the school. I received an e-mail from Danielle's teacher saying that today was the second day in a row that Danielle didn't bring a lunch or lunch money to school. She said that Danielle was complaining of being dizzy and tired.
The teacher asked for our input.
I politely e-mailed back, explaining that Danielle is responsible for packing her own lunch. I also mentioned that her lunch is frequently a control battle. When we ask her about it, she usually tells us that either a) she already packed it, or b) she's not hungry and won't eat anyway.
I suggested that the teacher might want to remind Danielle that packing a lunch is her responsibility. Given that lunch is such a control battle, I figured the reminder coming from her might be better received than it would be coming from us.
So that's what I said.
Here's what I thought:
Danielle is almost 17 years old. She is perfectly capable of putting together her own lunch and I am just not going to engage in a control battle over this issue. I suspect that the real truth is Danielle is trying to manipulate us into giving her a lunch card, which she's asked for several times.
I don't know if this is the case for all schools, but at Danielle's school the lunch card is essentially a credit card. There are no spending limits. A child can purchase as much as she likes, and at the end of the month, the parents get the bill.
Given that we have a kid who doesn't comply with doing her chores, who displays a bad attitude whenever possible, and who we can't trust to obey rules, I have only one answer when asked about a lunch card:
No, no, and hell no.
Pack a lunch, kid.