Friday, October 17, 2008

Why are there no songs about Nebraska?

Or maybe I just don't know any...yet.

So, I haven't blogged in a long time, mainly because difficulties with my Middle Child have rendered me virtually humorless and without creative spark. But in the middle of all of this chaos, my sister in law sent me an article concerning a rather poorly worded law in Nebraska that has brought some unexpected problems.

In case you don't feel like following the link, I'll try to sum up. Many states have "safe haven" laws, where people can drop babies off at hospitals and not face repercussions. These laws are, of course, designed to keep people from dropping infants in dumpsters or ravines or what have you... but Nebraska's law is imprecise, and does not indicate an upper age of children that can be dropped. Consequently, people have taken to dumping their bigger children, with one man dropping off NINE children, because he didn't know how to handle them after his wife died. Another man crossed state lines to dump his 14 year old daughter.

Now before you go rushing to judgment on these parents, I urge you, spend a week with a 14 year old girl and THEN tell me you're not up for a Nebraska road trip. Or if you don't have a handy 14 year old girl, consider this anecdote, regarding a friend of a friend:

This lady I know has an absolutely beautiful, previously quite sweet 14 year old daughter. Lately, though, the girl has been belligerent and hostile, defiant and angry. She's currently grounded for bad behavior and bad grades, but the other night when she couldn't reach her mother on the phone as quickly as she liked to ask about an exception to the restriction, she just took it upon herself to decide she was off the hook and could sleep over at a friend's house. When her mother interfered with her plans, she became hysterical, crying and screaming and threatening her mother physically, saying she'd stab her in her sleep. Yikes!

The mother is divorced, but her ex lives quite nearby for the sake of helping with the kids, (although this is not really his strong suit, and she has to be pretty desperate to ask for his help), became really upset and frightened, and called her ex to come help. When the dad arrived, the girl became even MORE irrational, and took off running down a busy road, late at night, weaving in and out of traffic, with her father in hot pursuit. When he finally caught up to her, she was curled in a ball in a a ditch, sobbing. Drama much?

The mother picked her daughter up from school today, and took her out for coffee, to discuss what happened. (I'm pretty sure she was following the theory that teens are much less likely to cause a gigantic scene in public.) When she got to the part about her daughter threatening to kill her while she slept, the girl stopped her. "I never said that!" she said. Her mother assured her that yes, she did indeed say that, and the girl was all innocence, claiming no memory of it, but then started laughing, as though it was the funniest thing she'd heard all day, that her mother had gotten it SO WRONG.

"No," she patiently explained, "I said I would STAB you in your sleep."

Ahhh! Yes, of course, now it's all ok.

This story made me smile, I'm embarrassed to admit, but I promise the smile was one of empathy and understanding, with only a small dash of "Whew! Someone else's kid was worse than my kid today! Hooray!" thrown in for good measure.

Maybe I should give that mom a call, offer her a listening ear. Maybe she'd like to split the cost of a drive to Nebraska.

I had to come back and edit to add... I DID find a song called Nebraska!


Chaotic Joy said...

Ah yes. My daughter is only twelve but I can relate. It is really heartbreaking when they morph from this sweet girl who adores you to a self-centered teenager with a healthy dose of eye-rolling and attitude. Nebraska, huh? I'll keep that in mind.

perfect just like mommy said...

This entry resonates with me in so many ways.
1. I was born in Nebraska.
2. My husband and I have a long standing joke about leaving our daughter at our nearby safe haven, including a dumb joke about dropping her off as a teenager.

So, I'll be sharing that article with said husband, and the running gag continues.

amy said...

Joy- yes, I think 12 was the pivotal age over here, and of course I complicated matters by having another daughter that year.

L- I did not know you were born in Nebraska! Learn something new every day, huh? Glad I could help along your running joke. ;o)

Sara Lou said...

I swear... Minneapolis is somewhat not far from the Nebraska border & if you flew here ... pretending to be on a trip to the Mall of America... we could make it in... 6 hours. SIX HOURS.


But then... Middle Child would be a ward of the Nebraska CPS & do you really think the punishment of having to be Nebraskan for life fits the crime?

amy said...

SLL- I'm considering it, believe me! ;o)

Miss Coffey said...

Oh my gosh, the HORMONES!!! !!